The cities’ dense areas are full of unnoticed urban voids: one example is the many core of blocks that unfortunately go without any use. This block (pictured) in downtown BH is an example of how easy it would be to convert emptiness into a square. In it they planted some trees that seek to survive, but with little additional investment this terrace will become an unprecedented leisure area that would balance the aridity and lack of public spaces of the Center.
Protected by twenty-story buildings, it is not difficult to imagine here a living area or a terrace bar surrounded by an urban setting that, if it seems melancholy and decadent, is also very promising.
Photos: Rua Goitacazes 103, Belo Horizonte
Had it been the view that effectvly shaped and changed urban rivers all over the world, we would be living in cities of linear parks and not in cities of covered rivers:
Map of the ancient courses of the Mississipi river meander belt by Harold Fisk, 1944. The drawing was made when another view of the river was being coined, one that “the river needs more room which should be given to it laterally rather than vertically”.
In Arunadha Mathur and Dilip da Cunha, “Mississipi Floods”, Yale Press, 2001.
In a world where water use is increasingly discussed, it is surprising to know that the stepwells of Rajasthan and Gujarat are structures as fabulous as they are unknown.
Carlos M Teixeira
“My first impression upon seeing the Indian stepwells was this: they look like a reverie of inverted steps and levels, a descent into the depths of the desert every bit as disconcerting as a plunge into the abyss. Rendered all the starker by the play of light and shade, these flights of steps form an architectonic mantra of stunning visual effect, endowing the stairways with a vertiginous rhythm, repeating a pattern that boggles for its scale and multiplication, as if reproduced ad infinitum in a hall of mirrors.
“How do these endless stairways serve a function at once so practical and poetic? How can such sublime constructions be so unknown, even in India? Why is it the ingenuity that blended use and fantasy this seamlessly is hardly ever seen in our modern-day constructions? Imagine how wonderful it would be if, as in this example from a time and space so remote, our techniques for the use and storage of water were to be reinvented in such a way as restored our rapport with water and the city’s rivers. (more…)
We live in a time when the transformation of the existing is more important than new constructions; in which we urgently need to turn our eyes to the problems of our cities which have been ignored by past generations.
It is from this perspective that Over-Arrudas (pictured) fits: a project that celebrates this river in Belo Horizonte, transforming it into an event capable of changing the way we see the natural resources to which we turned our backs.
A temporary square open to festivals, discussions and dissent, Over-Arrudas was presented, without success, to the municipality of Belo Horizonte. That is why we are now working on the feasibility of a similar project proposed for another city: the Over-Aricanduva project in the East Zone of São Paulo (see next post).
+info: Projects Under-Arrudas and Over-Aricanduva in Vazio S/A website
The exhibition “Misunderstandings”, held jointly by Campo gallery (Rome) and Le FRAC Center (Orleans, France), was intended as an experiment on what should be a historical collection and how contemporary architectural practice can approach it.
To do so, twelve architects and artists were invited by curators Gianfranco Bombaci, Matteo Costanzo, Luca Galofaro and Davide Sacconi to make a project from a drawing chosen from the Le FRAC collection. Guided only by the conceptual and plastic power of the drawings, the interpretation was open to all “misunderstandings”, such as scientific errors and historical inadequacies, to embody creative and fertile narratives.
One of the twelve works that make up the show is our “The Grid”. We publish here parts of this four-meter long drawing, on show until January 13 in Campo and until April 2 in Le Frac Center. The sequence was made from a diptych provided by the curators in which we made interventions to create a “stiltet” landscape that corrupts the original design and celebrates incompleteness.
The following is an excerpt from the text we presented at the exhibition:
“The better futures of the existent city are in latent fields that simply need to be developed and enlarged. The “concrete palafittes” – a widespread architectural accident in Belo Horizonte and many other hilly cities in Brazil – are a corrupter of a well-known object – the grid – that clash against modernist architecture origins: it demystifies style to create an object that escapes and despises the pure morality and ethical uniformity of its creators. (more…)
In a country of cities explicitly dominated and regulated by the private realm, architecture critic Abílio Guerra makes a sharp note on three of the very few open blocks of São Paulo, where public and private space don’t confront each other, but instead work in symbiosis:
Quadra Aberta: uma tipologia urbana rara em São Paulo
Christian de Portzamparc, em texto já clássico no meio arquitetônico brasileiro, defende a quadra aberta como uma solução contemporânea para os grandes aglomerados urbanos. Segundo o arquiteto francês, seria uma conciliação entre as cidades da primeira e segunda eras, abrindo as portas para a terceira era da cidade. Uma conciliação entre as qualidades da rua-corredor da cidade tradicional e dos edifícios autônomos da cidade moderna. Estamos diante de um urbanismo de síntese, aonde a resultante “quadra aberta permite reinventar a rua: legível e ao mesmo tempo realçada por aberturas visuais e pela luz do sol. Os objetos continuam sempre autônomos, mas ligados entre eles por regras que impõem vazios e alinhamentos parciais. Formas individuais e formas coletivas coexistem. Uma arquitetura moderna, isto é, uma arquitetura relativamente livre de convenção, de volumetria, de modenatura, pode desabrochar sem ser contida por um exercício de fachada imposto entre duas fachadas contíguas” (Portzampark, 1997) (more…)
Good news for hard times, the (much appropriated) title of the last issue of V!rus, has just been published. The magazine is edited by Nomads / USP (University of Sao Paulo); Vazio S/A appears with a text about our project Other Territories, which may happen this year.
Former ballerina at the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, the choreographer Marilyn Wood was one of the pioneers in the research between dance and architecture. In 1972 she presented a show on the windows of the Seagram Building in New York as part of a series she’s called “Celebrations in City Places”. Forgotten today, the choreography used all the 44 floors of the Seagram’s iconic glazed facade, and had 35 dancers transforming the windows onto stage; the hall, the revolving doors, and the plaza of the building forming an essential part of the scenography. With the exception of the photo above, there is virtually no record of the event on the Internet, but the visual resemblance between it and some of Vazio S/A’s works is incredibly obvious, especially in the case of “Invisible Public Spaces” and “Spiral Booths“.
We were very happy to know that Gambiologia/Kludgeology, an exhibition designed by Vazio S/A, was awarded in the XVIII Prize organized by IAB – the Brazilian Institute of Architects!
+info: IAB webpage
“Misleadingly interlocked, ostensibly cantilevered and sumptuously textured” was how journalist John Bezold, from the prestigious Dutch magazine Mark (pictured) began his beautiful presentation of our Cerrado House. Another nice review of the same house, Eupalinos in the Cerrado, was written by Fernando Lara in AU #263, according to whom “Tudo convida a subir, a casa inteira existe nessa dicotomia entre o abrigo protegido abaixo e o desejo de ascensão ao cume da casa e do morro”.
The Italian magazine Domus has just published a review about the exhibition “Misunderstandings” at Campo gallery, Rome. Our entry, “The Grid”, appears as the front image.
Vazio S/A is one of the participants of the exhibition “Misunderstandings” in Campo, a gallery in Rome the aim of which is to “debate, study and celebrate architecture”. The other participants of the show starting today are: Black Square, BuildingBuilding, Matilde Cassani, Lukas Feireiss, Saba Innab, LIST, Kula Manthey, OBRA, OMMX, PioveneFabi, and UHO. Everyone is invited!
This Tuesday Carlos Teixeira will take part on the debate “Other Narratives” which is part of the “Ser Urbano: 7th Architecture and Urbanism Week at PUC-Rio “. + info on the event’s page.
Today, Vazio S/A will be on the Federal University of Paraná’s Academic Week of Architecture and Urbanism (SAAU), in Curitiba. Full event program on the SAAU’s Facebook page
The curator Eduardo de Jesus and Vazio S/A are producing a festival of architecture and urban art on the neighborhood Buritis, in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Called Other Territories, its goal is to discuss latent urban voids and to propose solutions for up to 20 “stilted” buildings. The 20 interventions will be simultaneous and the show is scheduled for July 2017. If you happen to live in a stilted building and are interested in participating, please contact us!
More info at https://issuu.com/vazioarquitetura/docs/ct92-arq-ep-doc-amnesias-iv-concurs/1