São Paulo, Brazil

São Paulo, capital of the homonymous State, rises on a plateau about 70 Km far from the Atlantic Ocean and covers an area of 1.523 square kilometers.
São Paulo Metropolitan Region is the widest of the south hemisphere and with 20 million of inhabitants is the world's third largest metropolitan area. Adding the large neighboring areas, São Paulo officially forms a megalopolis larger than Rio de Janeiro and the world's second largest behind Tokyo.
The city represents the main financial and industrial centre in the South America and one of the most important attractor for international companies and economic activities.
Aside the economic relevance, São Paulo shows a great cultural vivacity, influenced and enriched by the numerous groups of immigrants who set up in the city: in fact, São Paulo is considered the most important cultural pole in Brazil, the place where were born the major artistic movements of the XX century in the Country.
These positive remarks meet with a very articulated social and cultural stratification which finds her direct expression in an incredible urban complexity.
A metropolitan area so wide become inevitably a set of different and conflicting urban situations and shows how, despite the positive economic trend of the country, wide marginal areas still exist and live in an emergency situation of poverty.
For these reasons the demand of an affordable housing stays as one of the basic problem to face.



Avenida Nove de Juhlo
All the project areas are located along one of the most important street, the Avenida Nove de Juhlo, in the sector between the new centre of Saõ Paulo, the Avenida Paulista, and the old historical centre, the area called Anhangabau. This part of the city is strongly degraded, and has a lack not only of social housing interventions, but also of a system of public functions and spaces that gives to this area a series of places of socialization, needful for the city life.
We decide to develop, related to the residential project, a different public function in each project, with the aim of enrich and complete the urban landscape of the Avenida, creating a whole.

Project 1

The site creates a direct connection between two different heights and two different realities: the representative one of the Avenida and the other one of the small shops neighborhood. The project aims to connect these two areas, concentrating in the basement a variety of commercial spaces.
Interpretation of the traditional commercial passages, the basement designs an artificial landscape, a geometrical crack that links the Avenida to the near neighborhood.
Over the basement, the residential building is laid down: made of a series of small duplex, the building wants to work out on the self-construction theme. Each apartment has a wide free surface, that can be freely built by the owner. These self-construction elements counteracts the regularity and the modularity of the façade.

site area 4'760 m²
housing units 228
inhabitants 912
density 0.2 inhabitants/m²
program housing + commerce

Yu Yang
China, AAM

Project 2

The small site is located in a very interesting urban position. Directly overlooking on the Avenida, close to the only public garden on the street, it represents the natural end of the street that goes in Rua Augusta, one of the most important road of the city. To underline this relevance, it was decided to design a thin tall tower as a linking symbol between the two streets.
The height difference gives the opportunity to create a double system of accesses: the access to the residential tower is located on the secondary street, while to the basement which houses a nursery, is accessed directly from the Avenida, in connection with the public garden in front.

site area 732 m²
housing units 63
inhabitants 252
density 0.35 inhabitants/m²
program housing + nursery

Leo Collomb
Switzerland, AAM

Project 3

The site is close to a very famous samba school and directly overlooks on a neuralgic point of the Avenida.
The project proposes to create a square sheltered from the noise by the buildings which could be a background for the dancing performances and for other shows. A low building follows the perimeter of the area and defines it along the main street. Visually permeable at the ground floor, it gives direct access to the terraced square, dominated by the tall tower that rises alone. A vertical brises-soleil system of different depth related to the orientation, defines the tower façade.

site area 3374 m²
housing units 232
inhabitants 928
density 0.27 inhabitants/m²
program housing + square

Stela da Dalt
Saõ Paulo, FAUUSP

Project 4

The project faces a quite complicated urban situation, trying, through a sequence of buildings and voids, to sew up the existing tissue and, on the other hand, to offer new potential relationships. The two main voids, divided by an existing building, are designed to compose a sequence of public spaces defining the "distances" among the buildings: a wide flight of steps represents the end of a street, offering a direct connection to the Avenida; the other space is a public square, defined by a new tower, the end of the site, and a lower building, and represents the foyer for the small existing theater. The project houses in the basement a theater school with spaces dedicate to the set construction, while the residential buildings contains an experimental typology of small duplex.

site area 1'440 m²
housing units 220
inhabitants 660
density 0.45 inhabitants/m²
program housing + theatre school

Luciana Diaz
Argentina, AAM

Project 5

The site is the only left over space in a very dense area; the area is colonized by spontaneous vegetation. The project wants to preserve these trees first of all; receding from the sidewalk, it is designed a "bight", a pause moment among the tall buildings which overlooking the street; here there is a restaurant, directly accessible from the Avenida.
The residential building is inaccessible from the main street; the entry, in fact, is on the parallel street, at a different height; divided into two identical buildings, the project is composed around a courtyard where is the whole vertical circulation system and the footbridges. The courtyard is the hearth of the intervention: the ground is in a lower position than the entrance; the high vegetation creates a intimate place, hidden by the branches of the trees.

site area 1'021 m²
housing units 63
inhabitants 255
density 0.25 inhabitants/m²
program housing + restaurant

Marina Barrio Pereira
Saõ Paulo, FAUUSP

Project 6

The project is between two very different situations: from one side a calm residential neighborhood, from the other the Avenida and the end of the overpass. The desire is to create a new connection between the two areas by designing a flight of stairs overlooked by three residential buildings: defined by a common height, the three thin towers follow the rise. Every building is divided in three parts: the basements are linked to the public sphere of the terraces and contain a bookshop, a cafeteria and a nursery; the entry level are platforms that overlook the public passage; the apartments are defined by a simple metal construction and a system of prefabricated panels.

site area 1'766 m²
housing units 108
inhabitants 432
density 0.25 inhabitants/m²
program housing + shops + nursery + public passage

Selma Shimura
Saõ Paulo, FAUUSP

Project 7

In a virtually saturated urban situation like the Avenida, the project area is almost a singularity. Here there are a lot of empty plots, shacks and small workshops among the tall buildings. The projects wants to complete the limit of the neighborhood and to give a new vitality to the reshaped inner void.
The entrance is on a side street, while the two main street frontage are designed with a series of shops and small commercial activities. The courtyard links together all the buildings, the new one as the existing, creating a green common space, quite and controlled.
Starting from a technical element, i.e. the need of building firewalls, it is decides to concentrate all the vertical circulations inside them; the alternated wall beams represent the bones of the buildings and allow to have very large span, freeing from pillars the whole ground floor which is characterized by a sequence of horizontal and vertical spaces.

site area 2'780 m²
housing units 168
inhabitants 588
density 0.2 inhabitants/m²
program housing + collective courtyard

Yves Rogger
Switzerland, AAM

Project 8

A place with a strong character, cut by a overpass highway and characterized by the presence of high residential buildings. The project wants to sew up the wide break created by the overpass and, at the same time, wants to offer a new well defined limit.
Under the bridge there is the sequence of platforms of the community centre that represents the new meeting place, and a series of walkways links all the important points of the two side of the Avenida, giving an unexpected pedestrian landscape. The community centre is the basement of an high residential building: a blade lays parallel to the highway, closed and sculptural, cut by apparently random circular openings towards the highway, open and light on the opposite side. There, the building overlooks a public park which completes the spaces between the existing buildings and the project.

site area 2'527 m²
housing units 190
inhabitants 760
density 0.3 inhabitants/m²
program housing + community centre

Federico Rossi
Italy, AAM

Project 9

The project is in a outlying position and is in a quiet and less exposed situation to the noise coming from the Avenida. It represents a direct connection between the Avenida and the parallel street which lays on a higher level.
The existing urban void is redefined by a series of green terraces on which a cafeteria and a small restaurant overlook. A free floor divide the public spaces from the residential ones; the residential building, made of two separated buildings linked by walkways, defines the site limits: the structure is made by alternating perpendicular walls. The apartments are in between different scenarios, the street, the terraces, the Avenida and the two courtyard animated by different creepers.

site area 992 m²
housing units 62
inhabitants 248
density 0.25 inhabitants/m²
program housing + garden + restaurant

Carolina Yamate
Saõ Paulo, FAUUSP

Project 10

A large embankment and a public stair offer the chance of rethinking the relationship with the Avenida. The project decides to voluntarily detach from the main street, laying on the new basement and creating a new urban situation with the higher level city, by the creation of a new square related to the corner of two important street that go directly to the city centre. It was fundamental redefine the stair which goes straight till the square level. The building has a strong public character: a concrete core defined by the whole vertical circulation, stairs and elevators, public and private, houses a vertical sequence of cinemas and theaters, alternated with public foyers where there are the access stairs to the rooms, the lounge and the cafeterias. This introverted core is covered by a regular grid of pillars, cheap and flexible structure where the dense world of housing units is with a variety of different typologies.

site area 3'150 m²
housing units 357.5
inhabitants 1'251
density 0.45 inhabitants/m²
program housing + cinema + theatre

Francesca D'Apuzzo
Italy, AAM

Project 11

A large urban void in a strategic position offers the chance of rethinking the connections among the Avenida and the access streets to the city centre. The project works on different levels, trying to offer a unified answer to the wide series of questions given by the area. The ground level reshaping gives the opportunity of designing a learning centre: a wide ramp, larger than the street, gently goes from the Avenida to the higher level and represents, at the same time, a place to stay and a urban passage. Likewise, a series of inclined plans sews up the differences among the streets, creating a great mineral public square. Rising up on a system of pilotis, four residential buildings complete the neighborhood, underlining the public character of the void of the learning centre.
Every building is characterized by the presence of a giant order hole which visually connects the sky and the courtyard of the learning centre; by doing so, it is given a sight on the sequence of volumes and voids, making generous public spaces in high densely inhabited buildings. The façade is a structural grid that becomes thicker where it needs to allow a efficient distribution of the weights around the holes.

site area 10'650 m²
housing units 724
inhabitants 2'534
density 0.3 inhabitants/m² (0.45 without learning centre)
program housing + learning centre

Michelle Badrutt
Switzerland, AAM

Project 12

The project fits in an area strongly compromised by the existing infrastructures; it's closed by two bridges, the Avenida and the surrounding buildings, consequence of a series of speculations that have completely overexploited the site potentials.
The project wants to design a sport centre, open to the city, that allows to use this place as a centre for socializing, creating a series of terraces necessary to connect the Avenida with the higher level streets. Four residential buildings, made by a three meter per three meter grid of pillars, shape the space, creating playgrounds of different size.
The sport centre is completely integrated with the buildings: two concrete towers, integrated in the two buildings that link the four fundamental levels, contain small gyms and the dressing rooms and give a direct access to the system of playfields that represents the crown of the buildings.

site area 2'900 m²
housing units 218
inhabitants 873
density 0.3 inhabitants/m²
program housing + sports centre

Marco Guerra
Italy, AAM

Project 13

The site fits in a neuralgic point of the city; it is closed by four important streets that laying on four different levels and it's near to the city centre and to the main bus station. The area represents a crossing area and has a strong character of connection, but has also the chance of being a place to stay in a calm situation, while the context is dominated by the noise and the traffic.
Four residential buildings, made of a combination of small duplex, define a courtyard: this place houses a large exhibition space, directly accessible through generous stairs that steps down from the different streets to the level of the Avenida.
All the apartments have a double-facing and live between the chaos of the city and the quite of the space dedicated to the art.

site area 2'150 m²
housing units 380
inhabitants 1330
density 0.6 inhabitants/m²
program housing + exhibition space

Camilla Minini
Italy, AAM

Project 14

The site is characterized by two degraded big residential buildings devoid of any kind of common spaces. The project, on one hand, reflects on the importance of these places of sociality and, on the other, faces the bigness of the surrounding buildings. The hearth of the project is the square tower that houses all the common spaces dedicated to the young, the children and the elderly. Its barycentric position allows to connect it to the three buildings thanks to walkways. The tower is accessible only to the inhabitants of the buildings, while the groundfloor is open and public and becomes a passage where are the shops and the cafeteria.
The new residential building faces the existing buildings and gives a variegated sequence of houses: distributed by galleries, the different flats, divided in five structural towers, change from the studio to the triplex and create a variety of typology, visible in the façade. The spaces among the towers are common terraces, raised from the gallery: they are different in high and depth, and represent an open room, the first place of sociality.

site area 2'985 m²
housing units 250
inhabitants 999
density 0.35 inhabitants/m²
program housing + collective house

Serena Santini
Italy, AAM

Project 15

There are many parking tower in the centre of Saõ Paulo: they are real skyscrapers inhabited by cars. These buildings with a rough and infrastructural aspect, are silent places inside the city.
The project wants to "colonize" these towers: by using the parking as a structural core, the new building rises around the existing one. Giant holes create generous visual and spatial relations and cut the compact volume, revealing the infrastructural soul. At the first floors, accessible from the Avenida, two schools solve the relation with the street and supply to the chronic lack of place of instruction in the area.

site area 1'493 m²
housing units 440
inhabitants 1'760
density 1.1 inhabitants/m²
program housing + schools

Joao Miguel Alves de Moura e Silva
Saõ Paulo, FAUUSP

Program of activities


Free travel in Brazil for AAM students

Workshop in Saõ Paul

Seminary at FAUUSP

  • Exposição de projetos do arquiteto Paulo Mendes da Rocha
    at Escola da Cidade
  • Lecture of Marcos Acayaba at Escola da Cidade
  • Croquis de uma vida di Za Calazans
    Guided visits: Saõ Paulo Architecture
  • Copan building by Oscar Niemeyer
  • Praca do Patriarca by Paulo Mendes da Rocha
  • Sede do IAB-SP building
  • Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo by Vilanova Artigas
  • SESC Fabrica da Pompeia by Lina Bo Bardi
  • Conjunto Nacional building by David Libeskind
  • Museu de Arte de São Paulo MASP by Lina Bo Bardi
  • Centro Cultural FIESP by Paulo Mendes da Rocha
  • Parque Ipirapuera by Oscar Niemeyer
  • Loveira building by Vilanova Artigas
  • Museo Brasileiro da Escultura by Paulo Mendes da Rocha
  • FORMA shop by Paulo Mendes da Rocha
  • Paulo Mendes da Rocha house by Paulo Mendes da Rocha
  • Antonio Gerassi house by Paulo Mendes da Rocha
  • Carapicubîa house by Angelo Bucci and Alvaro Puntoni
    Guided visits: 15 project areas in the Avenida Nove de Juhlo


Intermediate reviews


Final reviews in Mendrisio


Wish project–starting lecture
Martino Pedrozzi

Historical aspects of 9 de Julho
Angelo Bucci

O projeto como Caminho
Alvaro Puntoni

Students Competition:
Living in the centre of Sâo Paulo–Small Units experiments
Juliana Braga, Ciro Miguel, João Sodré

Project for the pleasure of reason
Martino Pedrozzi

Guests critics
Intermediate reviews

Giacomo Guidotti
Andrea Pedrazzini

Final reviews

Angelo Bucci
Alvaro Puntoni
Sebastiano Brandolini


MAD, mostra delle attività didattiche
at Accademia di Mendrisio


Universidade de São Paulo
Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo