Garden of Resilience: Adapting to Uncertainty

São Paulo, Brazil

In such a connected world, where the limits between urban, rural and nature are blurred and interwoven, built and natural environments are a single entity. We cannot distinguish landscape from cityscape. It is all part of the same constituency. São Paulo’s landscape is realized in the infinite repetition of ordinary elements, whether we look at it today or before the city was settled. It is not constituted by focal points or iconic elements; it’s about the scale of ordinariness. Few exceptions are Copan or Paulista Avenue or Estaiada Bridge, a cumbersome road infrastructure. When we look at São Paulo’s landscape, we should also look below the concrete crust to find the hidden geography of rivers, soil and topography. The site was to be approached simultaneously from above and from underneath, as a metaphor but also as an intervention act. This is an ethical concern as well as a question on how these suffocated natural assets can contribute to and inspire the designs.

 

The intervention in such a large and central area is an opportunity to challenge the usual consolidated standards and propose new arrangements that can impact how we think the metropolis as a whole. Parque Dom Pedro II summarizes how São Paulo has historically related to its landscape, its waters and its public spaces along its development. The studio took this critical and unique area to raise new hypotheses, by exploring the relationships between architecture, infrastructure, landscape and ecology. It looks at Brazilian and international case studies and investigates the Escola Paulista to imagine how it’s principles can be reframed - shifting from modern and monofunctional to green and hybrid infrastructures - to inspire urban architectures that combine resilient ways of thinking the built environment with bold strategies towards the right to the city.

 

The proposal is not expected to resolve all the complexity of Parque Dom Pedro II. Instead, is intended identify particular conditions and focus on them to propose new relations for the site: spatial, infrastructural, social. The design performs as a resilient garden, a landscape which reminds visitors of the past of the territory they inhabit while simultaneously adapting to the uncertainty of climate change.