Anna Dietzsch, Managing Director of ‘ São Paulo office and Levisky Arquitetos Associados designed this beautiful eco-park on what was once a contaminated brownfield in São Paulo, Brazil. The 130,000-square-foot site was previously the home to a garbage incinerator, so even after the area’s clean-up the team strove to minimize soil excavation by building a deck that, on average, floats three feet above the ground. Victor Civita Plaza also includes solar panels, the extensive use of reclaimed wood, and a retro-fitted museum that explains the sustainable features that were designed into the site.

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Land has a way of preserving history through discarded rubble — the forgotten artifacts that archeologists use as evidence of past events. However, in the case of the Victor Civita Plaza in São Paulo, Brazil, the land’s history is slightly more obvious. The deck’s elevation literally exposes the history of the landscape as a reclaimed site. It is constructed of Brazilian hardwood that was sourced from distributors that follow stringent rules on extraction and reforestation. The deck is supported by a steel structure which allows it to float above the contaminated soil below.

Instead of using other materials for the rest of urban plaza, the design team chose to create visual uniformity by using the same wood used for the deck to define smaller spaces within the plaza. The effect is a fluid three-dimensionality that creates rooms that appear as if they grew right out of the deck.

The programming of the site takes advantage of the its history to encourage visitors to think about the past and present ecology of the site. Through exhibit panels, visitors are able to get a grasp on various efforts taken to make the space cleaner, healthier — and ultimately, more sustainable. These include: using recycled wood to build the deck, solar panels to produce energy for the site, and a passive water filtering system to clean the water. Also, the building that once sheltered the garbage incinerator was retro-fitted to provide space for a sustainability museum.

Recreational and community facilities make the space an invaluable amenity for neighboring communities in this dense urban area. A covered amphitheater offers a place for music events while a community center offers a place for eco-centric workshops. And by incorporating these recreational spaces into thoughtful design and educational planning, the team of architects and planners behind this urban plaza have made this site capable of actively improving the social and environmental health of the surrounding neighborhoods.

+ Davis Brody Bond Aedas

+ Levisky Arquitetos Associados

Tip via Jacqueline Pezillo