social and educational centre villaregia in são paulo of brazil

Tattarillo Award 2011
Appropriate Technologies for sustainable development in any South of the World
Academic degree:
Thesis defence date:
Gabriele Zara
Master degree in Civil Engineering
University of Cagliari
26 Aprile 2010
[email protected]
Keywords: São Paulo
Abstract - The thesis develops the study of two design ideas of the Social and
Educational Centre Villaregia. In the first one, created on site and that is going to be
carried out, we tried to respect the requirements and needs of the client. In the second one,
developed in Italy, the approach has been different. Based on the housing type of the
“cortiços”, through a modular design small buildings have been designed so that they can
be built later on depending on economic resources.
The idea of developing the thesis in a foreign country comes after a voluntary work
experience in the summer of 2007 at the Missionary Community of Villaregia in São Paulo
of Brazil – more precisely in its extreme outskirts.
Thanks to the victory of the announcement of competition for the provision of
scholarships towards students who write thesis about the problems of development and
international cooperation in the Accademic Year 2008/2009, sponsored by ERSU (Pubblic
institution for the high-education right), I have been in Brazil for the second time during
November and December 2009 and January 2010. In that period, besides having lived a
very enriching experience from a human point of view, I drafted the first part of my thesis.
The goal of my thesis is to propose two ideas for the project of the Social and
Educational Centre Villaregia.
The first weeks of permanence have been addressed both to the research of material
in the attempt of framing the local social situation and to the mutual confrontation with the
missionaries, who gave me the opportunity to get in touch with local issues as they have
been working in São Paulo for several years. Their pieces of information turned out to be
very important for development of my project.
At the same time I carried out the research of material with which I could concretely
work on the project.
At the beginning the situation did not appear very encouraging since I could not find
a planimetry in digital format of the territory portion under study. Only after three weeks,
thanks to the knowledge of a friend, an engineer topographer, I managed to get a excerpt
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Tattarillo Award 2011
Appropriate Technologies for sustainable development in any South of the World
of planimetry on an A4 sheet received with the presumption that it was in 1:5000 scale, but
in reality it was in 1:10000 scale.
Figure 1 – Excerpt of planimetry 1:10000 scale
Brazil is known as a country of contrasts between rich and poor people. Many cities
in the south and south-east regions show a strong social development. For example, the
city of São Cataneo, in the state of São Paulo, has a Human Development Index of 0.919,
higher than that of Portugal (0.897). On the contrary, the town of Manara, in the state of
Maranhão, has an HDI of 0.467, the same of that of Tanzania in Africa1.
We mention some data to understand the situation:
• 2,4% of the population is represented by the richest families in Brazil (in 1980 was
1.8%) that own the 33% of available income (in 1980 it was around 20%);
• A wealthy family earns 14 times more than a family with middle level income (in
1980 it earned 10 times more);
• The National Solidarity Fund estimated that the population of the State of São Paulo,
has an avarage income of less than R$ 80,002 (€ 31,50). Therefore, the NSF declared
it state of poverty;
• São Paulo has an unemployment rate of 20%;
• According to recent statistics the southern outskirts of São Paulo, in which is placed
the territory under consideration, is considered one of the most violent areas in the
world. 100 violent deaths have been recorded for every 100000 people. The main
cause is represented by the disputes between rival gangs and by the drug trade.
One of the most visible conflicts in the city of São Paulo is linked to the type of
In the city centre it is possible to admire the skyscrapers, which often are found
inside the “closed condominiums”.
R$: the Reais the Brazilian currency.
Currency exchange: 1€ = 2,54 R$
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Tattarillo Award 2011
Appropriate Technologies for sustainable development in any South of the World
The so-called “closed condominiums” are really common among members of the
upper-middle classes. They are private areas fitted up with all possible services in order to
prevent their inhabitants any contacts with the outside world.
Leaving the city centre, towards the suburbs, the scenery changes drastically, giving
space to the “favelas”.
The IBGE3 -the Brazilian Census Bureau- was unable to quantify the typical houses
in the favelas, called “cortiços” which are closed lanes where on sight it is visible only a
single house, with a single number, but in reality many families live inside it. The house is
divided into a few rooms, usually two per family, bound together by kinship, or simply
through informal agreement of lease.
Inside the houses within the “cortiços” there is no internal organization of the space.
We move directly from room to room withhout a corridor that divides the various rooms.
Figure 2 – Typical scheme of a house within a “cortiços”
The area is located between the town halls of Embu Guaçu and Itapecerica da Serra,
in the administrative district of Campo Limpo. The first inhabitants arrived more than 30
years ago from different regions of North, Central and West Brazil.
Figure 3 – In evidence the two hills of the area under study
IBGE: Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics
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Tattarillo Award 2011
Appropriate Technologies for sustainable development in any South of the World
This phase consists of two design ideas that are intended to give a solution to the
same problem, namely the development of the architectural project of the Social and
Educational Centre Villaregia, whose goal is to raise the social and cultural conditions of
the local population.
Specifically, it intends to offer opportunities of support to young people aged from 0
to 21 years and it deals with the following areas:
• Nursey: for the range of children aged from 0 to 3 years;
• Kindergarten: for the range of children aged from 3 to 6 years;
• Reception Centre: for the range of children from 6 to 15 yaers;
• Professional Centre: for the range of young people aged from 15 to 21 years.
The first project proposal, made on site, tries to comply with all needs, functions and
requests espressed by the missionaries of the Missionary Community of Villaregia.
On the other hand, the second one, developed after my return to Italy, has a
different approach. In this case we started taking as an example the type of the houses of
the “cortços”, that means we designed buildings of modest size included in a squared grid
used to define an order. The peculiarity of the project, is that these buildings can be built
later on depending on economics capacities, adopting independent modular solutions,
which settled together, give birth to the final block.
During the phase of analysis and study of the area, it became clear that the types of
materials used for the construction of houses are very few-bricks, concrete to build vertical
and horizontal pillars and asbestos lumber for roofing.
In both design solutions we adopted the same materials found on site, in particular
the same kinds of brick and frame.
Figure 4 – General planimetry of the two design solutions
of the social and educational centre Villaregia
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Tattarillo Award 2011
Appropriate Technologies for sustainable development in any South of the World
The first solution comes after many conversations I held with the missionaries who
possess a deep knowledge of the social and cultural aspects of the territory.
Successively, we identified the principles that led to the draft of the project according
to the following reasons:
• Design a simple and essential building which can give a global and immediate
perception of space, so that no room in the building remains in schadow and
therefore, let people not think there are valuables inside;
• Avoid the dispersion of young people with the creation of large spaces and give the
possibility to look after them in the training centre;
• Promote the meeting of young people at different times, then a unitary structure
which helps them to build relationships in mutual respect.
In the second solution, the design criterion that characterizes the solution itself is the
Modularità of the building up, which permits to create the single building later on
according to individual needs and financial budget.
In each building we can distinguish the rooms served by those at the service,
externally recognizable as two types of coverage have been used-a roof like a pavillon for
the first kind of building and a flat roof for the second kind.
The construction system used is based on a frame with a projecting part at its end.
Since the bearning structure can be made either of wood or reinforced concrete, in
case the latter material is adopted, with the solution of the frame base with the projecting
part at the end, the problem of the thermal bridge is obviated because the thermal bridge
could be created between the concrete and the bricks.
At the end of the work, the experience has come out very interesting both for human
and professional aspects. The project has given to me the opportunity to try out two
completely different design solutions, because, as I explained previoulsy, in the first phase I
had the opportunity to cooperate with the missionaries, to whom I had to accomplish
some specific requests, while in the second one, I tried to develop the same design project,
with a different approach, certainly closer to the way we design, think and plan in Europe.
[1] A.A.V.V., Atlas da Exclusão Social no Brasil, volume 2: dinâmica e manifestaçao
territorial. San Paolo, Cortez Editora, 2003
[2] Sposati, A., Mapa da Exclusão e Inclusão Social da cidade de São Paulo. San Paolo,
PUC-SP/Pólis, 2001
[3] Folha de S. Paulo; um jornal a serviço do Brasil
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Tattarillo Award 2011
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Appropriate Technologies for sustainable development in any South of the World