Fábrica de Cultura: Grotão
Well-designed social infrastructure has the potential to not only bring important services and opportunities to deprived areas, but also act as a powerful catalyst for future urban development. Paraisópolis is located in southwest São Paulo, adjacent to Morumbi, one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city. Despite challenging topography and recurrent,dangerous mudslides in periods of heavy rainfall, approximately 80,000 people now live on the territory in a dense, informal settlement covering less than one square kilometer.
While mapping the area and interviewing residents, U-TT learned of a local music organization hoping to build a new practice and performance center. Inspired by this story, U-TT developed a proposal that would transform an inaccessible void within the dense fabric, which had been cleared of homes after a severe mudslide, into a productive and dynamic community hub.
The design centers on a music and dance school in the lower zone, which stacks diverse programs to maximize site potential. These include an open theater, performance hall, practice and rehearsal spaces, studios, and classrooms. The other key component is a new terraced landscape, which in addition to stabilizing the sloped terrain and preventing further erosion, will transform Grotão into a natural arena, encouraging diverse community participation, and re-establishing connections through the site to the wider neighborhood. In this way, the project will expand cultural programs into the community, while forming a new network that serves youth from all levels of society. The municipal government soon signed on to the project, and planned new social housing facilities nearby for residents currently living precariously on the site. Construction began in 2014 and is estimated to be completed by the end of 2016.