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Araxá – Architectural and Urbanistic Appreciation of the Central Area | GPA&A
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Araxá – Architectural and Urbanistic Appreciation of the Central Area


“Imbiara,” a native indian word, means “a water way”. From those waters comes salt, the food for the cattle that once occupied the area. The ore emerges from the soil under those medically renowned waters. Pathways cross around those waters, the most valuable good of our times. The water reflects the sky, the Moon and the Sun – and the latter is first seen here, in Araxá.

Coronel Adolpho Square is the birthplace of the city, and its axis, Antônio Carlos Ave., leads us to the water ways. The building is part of its context, turning this axis stronger. It buries itself in the ground, raising and praising History. It leads the user to a contemplation of the authenticity and originality of the surroundings. It also surprises us with the nice view of the Olegário Maciel St.

Antônio Carlos Ave.

The mainstay of our project is the stregnthening of the Antônio Carlos Ave. axis: the building of a central walkway refer to the surroundings, enhancing the view that still keeps the city’s memory. This route ends at Coronel Adolpho Sq., redeeming its value as a public space for coexistence and contemplation.

The central, free route focuses on the pedestrians, creating a directed, comfortable flow that is protected by a line of trees which indicates the alignment of the Chruch of São Domingos to the Christ Redeemer. To free the way and the view of the landscape, the newsstands, watchmakers, taxi stands and bus stops were moved to the sidewalks, where new facilities are to be created for all those activities.

As for the old bus station building, considered by the Heritage Council as disfigured and subject to being demolished, its removal has been proposed. The building was thought to home the city’s central bus station, but it soon became unable to match the demand due to the city’s growth and served for years as an office for the public administration.

Currently, the traffic-related problems persist and are intensified by the increasing flow of vehicles and pedestrians. As a solution, apart from the central walkway, it was proposed the broadening of the sidewalks and the relocation of the u-turns for cars, thus removing the intersections between the main avenue and the cross streets. The u-turns’ floors get the same treatment of the walkway, indicating slow traffic.

The central walkway ends in a viewing point sided by a reflecting pool, under which the theater is located. The building is placed in a way to value the surroundings, by being partially underground. The volume that emerges from the ground opens itself as an esplanade, enabling the realization of two events simultaneously or a bigger one that connects the inside of the theater and the square outside.

The square resumes its role of gathering people, be them araxaense citizens or tourists, who will have an extra reason to know the historical center of Araxá.

Presidente Olegário Maciel ST. (or “Nice View ST.”)

The first block of Nice View St., also under revitalization, integrates with the Antônio Carlos Ave. by promoting the pedestrian use and a friendly environment. The visual pollution caused by billboards, the wires from the light poles and even by the excessive amount of cars on the street is taken away.

The street is now serving the walkers, with specific loading hours for the commercial buildings. The very stone floor calls for a distinctive nature. There is no distinction between the sidewalk and the driving lanes, implying that the circulation of pedestrians is free. The sociability is salvaged and commercial activity is encouraged as the public way becomes comfortable and inviting.

The subterranean wiring is paramount to the visual quality of the whole. The new light poles are there for street lighting purposes only. They are part of the street furniture, also composed by benches and tree planter boxes. The design of this furniture follows the floor arrangement, referred to by the buildings on that highway.

This project also cares for searching the historical-architectural references, like the movie theater, the culture center and other cultural items. We have tried to communicate with the old and to provide an appreciation of the cultural heritage of Araxá.

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Project name: Araxá – Architectural and Urbanistic Appreciation of the Central Area
Architecture: Gustavo Penna, Norberto Bambozzi, Laura Penna, Priscila Dias de Araújo, Letícia de Paula Carneiro, Vivian Hunnicutt, Alyne Ferreira, Natália Ponciano, Catarina Hermanny, Alice Leite Flores, Ana Isabel de Sá, Cíntia Honorato Santos, Marcus Martins, Hiromi Sassaki.
Management and Planning: Rísia Botrel, Isabela Tolentino
Location: Araxá – Minas Gerais – Brazil
Year designed: 2010 – 2011
Year completed: 2013
Projected area: 23.400m2
Images: Casa Digital