Politics of the Big Block

Politics of the Big Block in Sao Paulo Heterogeneous Grid

AA 2013-14 http://politicsbigblock.wordpress.com/

‘A new scale: …no formula for the contemporary expression of the world. See with open eyes.’

Oswald de Andrade, Manifesto Pau-Brasil

Under the hypothesis of a new post-neoliberal city, Intermediate Unit 8 work focused on exploring the potential of the big block to create new centralities that redefine the fragmented metropolitan city of Sao Paulo.  Instead of attempting another description of city reality under the sway of neoliberalism, the unit speculated with the hypothesis of an emergent post-neoliberal city, already sought by some Latin-American city governments. This hypothesis does not fully erase the neoliberal city dynamics, but rearranges some of its most salient features to generate a space for the public in a city divided into fenced private properties and large urban infrastructures. Following these questions, the unit work interrogated the civic role of large buildings and its relation to private programmes by exploring programmatic mixtures and mutability of public and private domains, to eventually reassess the tension between the stability aimed by governmental powers and the need for change of economic processes.

Claiming for new centralities, the unit explored the generation of city through contained formal entities as embodied in the design of one free standing block in an urban fragment of Sao Paulo. The process of investigation has been developed through a series of formal exercises and explorations translated from one media to another, to understand the implications of designed architectural forms and the way they articulate spatial and programmatic relations. These explorations have been supported by the analysis of Paulista School architects’ work – such as Vilanova Artigas, Lina Bo-Bardi and Mendes da Rocha- that aimed to reintroduce a public sphere within the capitalist city. The articulation of limits and relationships by the architectural form has been a major interest explored through the ability of the block to create its own spatial territory within the urban landscape. As such, the block becomes an element of negotiation within the city manifesting its political relevance.

Students: Alvaro Calle, Shereen Doummar, Laurens Paulmann, Tommaso Sordon, Soso Eliava, Alex Khachwojian, George Fergusson, Atira Ariffin and Ja-Seung David Koo