The Sesc Parque Dom Pedro II project has its origin in the development of an urban plan for the region, finalized in 2011. Una Arquitetos was part of a multidisciplinary team that developed an Urban Plan for the City Hall of São Paulo for the region of Parque Dom Pedro II, the city’s historic center. Scenario of violent metropolitan infrastructure interventions, especially in the early 1970s, the region of very intense uses (commercial, housing and cultural) is transformed into a split zone with complex mobility issues. It is a region with a significant number of historic buildings, listed by the heritage agencies.
The northern sector of the plan (northern part of the park, characterized by important buildings, especially the Palácio das Indústrias, Casa das Retortas and Mercado Municipal), was in charge of Una Arquitetos, where a new unit of the Sesc (Commerce Social Service) was proposed, which will help significantly in breaking the strong seasonal use of the region (with extremely dense occupation during the day and very rarefied at night). It also aims to strengthen the integration and articulation of already consolidated uses in its surroundings, which are today interrupted by a set of urban obstacles.
This new Sesc unit is the most important step in the requalification of the area, with a set of sports, cultural and educational activities open to the people who live, work and already frequent the region. Besides attracting an extensive and diverse public because of the quality of the programming normally offered by Sesc.
The building relates directly to the city, without walls, without parking pockets, without mediations. It defines tree-lined sidewalks and an inviting transparency of the activities that take place in the building. The landscaping of the project sought the highest possible density of vegetation, which defines specific qualities for the various spaces that enjoy this contact, as well as extending the still existing wooded mass of Dom Pedro II Park to this northern tip of the region.
To provide free access to the public and enhance the activities offered, a horizontal volume of two floors occupies much of the area of the block. This volumetry seeks to make reference to the low height of the buildings in the Brás region, without frontal alignment, characteristic of the surrounding landscape. Three accesses to the building were proposed, facing each of the streets that border the lot faces, as a way to integrate the building to the city and enliven the public promenade.
On the ground level are the various workshops, the call center, a cafeteria, and a performance hall. These programs are located around a densely forested courtyard, which allows activities on different floors to be visually related to each other and to open up to a more sheltered space in relation to Avenida do Estado and Avenida Mercúrio, both high-traffic thoroughfares. The performance hall was designed to meet diverse configurations, with several possibilities for stage setup and audience location. The theater has retractable doors on the side facing Avenida do Estado, which allows it to open up to the city and relate directly to its surroundings.
The building’s internal spaces were designed based on its relationship to the outside: the visibility of the activities is an invitation to people circulating through the building to enjoy this new space, while people who enjoy the activities offered inside the building can feel in direct contact with the city, encouraged to take advantage of the multiplicity of uses of the surroundings.
The internal circulation between the first floors is made by escalators that connect the ground level to the large terrace that characterizes the second floor.
The second floor is home to the bookstore, library, and administrative areas. The library is a large room with a view of both the wooded courtyard and the East Side, more directly, to the Brás region. The library occupies the entire southern facade of the building, facing São Vito Square.
On the second floor is located the living area and large balconies. It also provides a walk on the terrace, around the treetops, that reveals views over this stretch of the city. Around the triangular void in the courtyard is a water feature, and on the outer perimeter a garden mediates the landscape.
This floor is already above the Diários Associados viaduct, so this large balcony already offers a wide view of the Palácio das Indústrias, a perspective that is amplified in the upper floors.
A second, higher volume contains a multi-sports court, as well as areas reserved for various sporting activities and a large gym. A warm-up track, which runs along the building’s entire façade, allows users to run or walk with open views of the surroundings.
The roof of the building is occupied by the aquatic complex, which includes an indoor training pool and two more outdoor leisure pools. Around these pools, a large garden open to the public allows views on all sides, revealing new views of the city from a higher elevation.
Thus, in its implementation, the Sesc building sought direct relations with this expressive scenario of São Paulo’s urbanization, offering its visitors views to the Palácio das Indústrias, Mercado Municipal, Casa das Retortas, Gasômetro, the Historical Hill and the entire downtown, northern and eastern skyline.
Its volumetry sought to graduate its heights: the two first floors occupy a large extension of the land, while a second volume, a little higher, occupies only part of the building’s projection. Finally, a third volume, taller, is internal to the main volume, quite set back from the borders. This resource reinforces the horizontality of the building, respecting and valuing the surrounding buildings, so that its insertion is delicate and transformative in the direct relations it sought to establish with people and the historical occupation of the central region of São Paulo.
São Paulo - SP
UNA arquitetos: Fábio Valentim, Fernanda Barbara, Cristiane Muniz, Fernando Viégas
Maria Júlia Herklotz, Luís Mauro Freire, Bárbara Francelin, Camila Martins, Clóvis Cunha, Joaquin Gak, Julia Jabur, Julia Moreira, Manuela Raitelli, Marie Lartigue, Pedro Ribeiro, Rodrigo Carvalho, Rogério Macedo, Marco Soletto, Sarah Nunes, Giovani Betini, Carolina Klocker, Roberto Carvalho
Passeri Arquitetos Associados
Acústica e Sônica
CTE - Centro de Tecnologia de Edificações
P. Martins Engenharia
Estúdio Carlos Fontes - Luz + Design
Machado de Campos
JKMF - Júlio Kassoy e Mário Franco / Suely Bueno
ZF & Engenheiros Associados
LPE Engenharia e Consultoria
Crysalis / AVM
CTE - Centro de Tecnologia de Edificações Certificação LEED