Civic Square | 1st place

The set object of this proposal is fundamentally the result of the following premises:


  1. The recovery Civic Square’s role as a structuring element of the urban fabric in the core of the city’s initial formation, through the emphasis on the radial geometry that its original design presents, and also the recomposition of the bilateral symmetry on the axis defined by the Esmeraldas Palace and Goiás Avenue, through the demolition of the Campinas Palace and its replacement with the Goiânia Memorial Museum of Urban Memory and the city’s Audio-Visual Reference Center.
  2. The requalification of the square’s public quality, creating the necessary supports for its appropriation by civic and cultural activities, recovering the prevalence of pedestrians and transferring the ground occupation of the parking lot to an underground level.
  3. Proposing land use and occupation guidelines in the blocks adjacent to the Civic Square, as a way to conceive various incentives that enhance public use and recover occupation at night and on public holidays.
  4. The redesign of Dona Gercina Borges Teixeira Street’s (formerly known as 26 St.) central sidewalk into a boulevard, associated with the differentiation of the road’s paving in granite parallelepipeds, based on the understanding of its characteristic as a linking element between the square and Buritis Park, while also proposing events capable of recovering the life of the place.


About urban redesign

From the visualization of the existing urban structure and the understanding of the original layout proposed by Attílio Corrêa Lima, three permanence spaces, with different uses, character and forms were created: the first one, following the main axis of the Esmeraldas Palace, of the bandstand and of the repurposed flagpoles, a central clearing between the trees configures a civic esplanade; a second space, under the trees, reinforces features of the original layout of the square, defining corners and recovering the existing water mirrors, while also adding water fountains to them which improve the quality of the water and the general ambiance of the square; finally, a third space results from the landscaping of the ring that surrounds Esmeraldas Palace, configuring large landscaped areas and small squares of more private nature, directly related to the adjacent buildings located in the square itself.

The large civic esplanade, paved with red granite parallelepipeds, with paging lines in light quartzite-type stone, presents a gentle slope towards Esmeraldas Palace, accentuating the central axis’ perspective through the elements that delimit this space: ramps that articulate the first section of the descent with the general level of the square and, next to the Palace, a large staircase that also works as a bleacher during leisure and cultural events. Its design is proposed through the interpretation of the original layout’s urban structure, using the alignments of Araguaia and Tocantins avenues as delimiters of the lateral limits of the esplanade, while also promoting its agreement with the main axis defined by the Palace’s frontality.

The design and paving recover and show, in a didactic way, the conformation in the shape of a trident that focuses on the center of power, radiating the three main avenues in a neoclassical-inspired layout commonly known as “crow’s foot” (originated from the French “pied d’oie”). The gentle slope also recovers the Palace’s monumentality, somewhat compromised by the presence of the Administrative Center in the background, as it creates a podium that visually elevates the main building of the complex, differentiating it from the others. This slope also helps to improve public visibility at large events, transforming the civic esplanade into a large amphitheater. We also indicate that the Three Races monument, currently in the center of the square, should be transferred to Worker’s Square, for the following two reasons: first, because it obstructs the main view of the Palace that the Goiás axis provides; the second, because we consider that the symbolic value of the monument, which represents the union of three races in a common objective, is more strongly related to the importance of workers for the construction of the city.

From the esplanade’s midpoint, a ramp plunges under the peripheral ring road, starting the axis of Goiás  Avenue while at the same time promoting integration of the square’s design with the future metro station that will take place under the initial section of the avenue, and ensuring access to the parking lot in the square’s underground. This underground passage also creates a commerce and fast services core and separates the connection between these two important urban spaces from the intense car traffic: Civic Square and Goiás Av. In the lateral areas of the square, we opted for the original landscaping recovery, emphasizing the presence of two ficus rings, the fountain and the geometric landscaping typical of neoclassical urbanism that strongly influenced the square’s original layout. The avenue that cuts through the square will be treated as a pedestrian path, defining places to stay under the shade of trees. In the places that currently have asphalt paving, the floor will be raised to the level of the pedestrian sidewalk, and its paving will be redone with gray granite parallelepipeds, emphasizing the prevalence of pedestrians throughout the territory of the square. Narrow driveways will allow restricted access to the square’s buildings, and will be defined by interspersed concrete markers that restrict traffic and protect pedestrians. These concrete demarcations can also be used as benches, complementing the set of urban equipment in the square. In the areas that surround the Palace and in the residual spaces configured by the interstices of the buildings that complete the set,the creation of localized interventions is proposed, more related to the adjacent buildings, capable of reinforcing cultural and leisure uses, such as small amphitheaters, playgrounds , and other equipment that provide an effective use of space. Due to the recent revitalization carried out by the State Government in these areas, major interventions are not justified. The single most significant change will be the redesign of the avenues that cross the complex, altering their paving in order to emphasize the prevalence of pedestrians, as previously mentioned. The use of parallelepipeds harmonizes with the existing portuguese stone pavement, granting unity to the whole complex and characterizing the Civic Square as a large public, historical, civic, leisure and cultural space, intended as a whole for pedestrians.

In addition to the redesign of the square itself, a fourth element completes the set: the large boulevard on Dona Gercina Borges Teixeira Street, which promotes the integration of the square with Buritis Grove, an important urban void, green area and leisure facilities in the city. Preserving the original trees, the central sidewalk of the street was widened, in order to host small fairs of a greater cultural nature, along the lines of similar fairs such as the Cultural Fair of MASP, in São Paulo, the antiques fair in the neighborhood of Santelmo, in Buenos Aires, or the different fairs in Paris of flowers, used books, antiques and the traditional Flea Market. In order to allow continuity of the pedestrian path along the axis of the central sidewalk, we used a “traffic calming” resource, raising and differentiating the paving at the intersection of the sidewalk with the transversal public roads, to emphasize the prevalence of pedestrian traffic. Thus, the boulevard has reinforced its continuity and its characteristic of connecting the park and the square.


About road structure redesign and parking access

The current separation of the peripheral road into two interdependent boxes, separated by a central median, must be maintained. We propose the widening of the perimeter sidewalks of adjacent blocks, associated with the characterization of the most peripheral road with slow traffic, providing parking areas and stops for special buses that travel along the Civic Square-Goiás Avenue-Worker’s Square complex. The innermost box, next to the square, will receive the fastest traffic, with three lanes. As a result, all possibilities for parking next to the square’s sidewalks were eliminated, in order to visually clean the urban space and also to avoid interference in existing curbs’ layouts. For the parking lots, two accesses are proposed, strategically arranged in the two alleys that separate the side buildings – Goiano Museum and current Campinas Palace – from the landscaping areas with water mirrors. Due to the direction of traffic on the square’s perimeter road, entry and exit from the parking lots are done in a so-called “left-hand traffic”, to avoid undesirable crossings of car flows. Located in this interval, which is also characterized by trees, the ramps are hidden amongst the landscaping, allowing the characterization of acceleration and deceleration lanes, and even allowing a return in the form of a roundabout before the descent, taking advantage of an enlargement in the layout of the existing guides.


About landscaping

The following principles determined the proposed landscaping for the Civic Square: 

1- The understanding of landscaping as an element that grants shade, and therefore spaces for permanence, responding to the harshness of the city’s hot climate and allowing for a greater possibility of appropriating public space by passers-by; 

2- Respect for the square’s original landscaping, designed by the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro, didactically revealing the influence of English garden cities in the landscape definition of Goiânia. In order to emphasize the importance of afforestation as a defining element of the character of the initial urban proposal, we sought to preserve and recompose the damaged sections with the same species and the same principles of composition, especially in the four rings that surround the water mirrors and the lateral buildings – Goiano Museum and current Campinas Palace; 

3- Recognition of the square’s civic character, differentiating the esplanade and giving it a continuous parallelepipeds paving, which provides a less arid setting than concrete or asphalt, and even more suitable for the historical site that the set sets up; 

4- Conservation and improvement of flowerbeds with low coverings and bushy vegetation, typical of squares seen throughout the city, reinforcing certain ambiences that characterize places of permanence throughout the square. 

The landscaping, both in terms of paving, afforestation and coverings, seeks to reinforce the main lines of the original urban layout, while reinforcing the general strategy of requalification of the square space as it decisively contributes to the differentiation of various spaces that guarantee multiplicity and a variety of uses in urban space.


About Goiânia’s Memorial

The Civic Square’s original layout, proposed by Attílio Corrêa Lima, revealed a bilateral symmetry that emphasized the completion of Goiás Avenue’s urban axis and reinforced the civic importance of the Esmeraldas Palace. The construction of a singular building on one side of the square – Goiano Museum – created an imbalance in the original symmetrical proposal, which wasn’t “fixed” with the construction of Campinas Palace. Due to the transfer of municipal administration to the newly built Paço Municipal, and based on the notorious inexpressiveness and inefficiency of Campinas Palace in the volumetric composition of classical principles that order the entire square, we propose its demolition and replacement by a building capable of meeting the demands of diversifying uses and recovering public and leisure activities in the square; the new building will also recover, through its volumetry, the symmetry with the Goiano Museum building. To achieve so, the new building recovers the proportions of the museum by respecting its scale and takes as an initial reference for its definition the volumetric composition that superimposes a cylindrical volume on another prismatic one. However, at the same time that it respects the whole and recovers the original symmetry, the Goiânia Memorial is a new building, which presents a new architecture that avoids imitations of a historicist, false and meaningless nature. Thus, the building comprehends a complex relationship with the place, as it opens up to a large internal void that articulates the three floors and the roof, from which the entire civic terrace of the square can be seen. This inversion that encloses the internal spaces in relation to the square responds to the proposed use of exhibitions and also constitutes an air conditioning device, creating a natural ventilation system that doesn’t require the use of expensive maintenance equipment. 

Access towards the interior is done through two ramps that promote a natural continuity of both the paths from Civic Square and the boulevard of 26 St., allowing pedestrian’s access to the most public floor (the underground), through a dip under the large prismatic concrete volume. The building has a lean program, configuring a nucleus of studies, leisure and culture that houses, on this more public floor, a café and a small projection room for cinema presentations, granting more cultural nature, in order to reinforce the general character of all spaces in the square. On the two upper floors, facing the circular void that shelters the ramp, the exhibitions of the Museum of Urban Memory and the Audio Visual Reference Center, respectively, take place. Each of the institutions counts on a support area on its own floor, granting restrooms, offices and archives. On the green grass roof, the curved top provides shade for contemplating the Civic Square’s landscape, whilst the building also opens onto the adjacent urban landscape. In the distance, the large prismatic volume is a windowless exposed concrete block slightly raised from the ground. However, as we approach it, the external concrete surface will reveal, through low reliefs, reinforced by the intense light of Goiás’ sun, records of the city’s history, through images, names and events that will be recorded in the stone for posterity. As the city is always in a continuous stage of construction, it is proposed to execute such records with precast concrete plates that are affixed every ten years, and over time, the facade of the building will gradually change along with the city’s memory record. Thus, the Goiânia Memorial, beyond simply being a place and shelter for objects and records of the city’s memory, also becomes, in its materiality, a record done through concrete, light and shadow of the remarkable events in the history of the people of Goiás.


About guidelines on land use and occupancy

As for the land’s occupancy in the blocks adjacent to the Civic Square, a height limit of twelve meters (ground floor + 2 floors) for new buildings is desirable, ensuring the preservation of the dominant density and horizontality of adjacent urban fabric, while respecting the relations of scale between the square and the public buildings. This height restriction seeks to harmonize the constructions bordering the square in relation to the less dense urban fabric of adjacent blocks. In relation to the use legislation for all blocks that conceive the Square’s urban complex, we propose to restrict the use of this land for commercial activities, small institutional activities and service uses, all of which must be related to cultural and leisure activities proposals for the area. For the regulation of these, both in new and previously existing buildings, it is necessary to establish restrictions and incentives for each specific use. 

Regarding incentives, we indicate the need to create total and partial exemptions from IPTU whenever the user or owner promotes a use in his property capable of reinforcing the public and leisure character of the surrounding urban complex. Such incentive must be granted provided that the property and the activity meet the following requirements: 1. is compatible with the activities listed as potentially favorable, with total or partial exemption depending on the proposed use; 2. have differentiated opening hours, working at night at least until 10:00 pm, including weekends and holidays; 3. has a formal characterization and use that favors integration and openness to the adjacent urban space, or, in other words, that it isn’t closed towards public road. The following activities are considered potentially favorable: 1. leisure and culture – cinemas, small concert halls, museums, gyms, art galleries, small schools: 100% IPTU exemption; 2. institutional – telephone points, banks, support kiosks open 24 hours a day: 70% IPTU exemption. For commercial spaces to be implemented in the recessed square that promotes integration with the subway and underground parking, we indicate uses that configure commerce and fast services, consistent with the itinerancy character that is typical of this type of space: 1. food: snack bars, small cafés, ice cream shops, pastry shops; 2. trade: newsstands, bookstore, pharmacy, flower shop, drugstore, music (cd/cassette), handicrafts, lottery shop; 3 . services: locksmith, shoemaker, printing works, photo development, 24 hour bank.


About management and feasibility of proposals 

The following management strategies allow the viability of the proposals presented in this project: 

  1. To make feasible the interventions built in the urban landscape, such as underground parking, and the commercial square connecting to the subway, the urban instrument of concession of public space to the private sector is proposed, authorizing the construction of such equipment according to the norms and the executive project approved by the Public Power. The property resulting from the investment will be owned by the City Hall, which allows the concessionaire to operate it for a period to be negotiated according to the cost of implementation x return on fixed investment. After a given concession period, the exploration rights return to the City Hall, which can renegotiate a new concession. 
  2. For the lowered shopping plaza, we also suggest a partnership with the State’s Government, due to its integration with the Metro station. 
  3. For the construction of the Goiânia Memorial, a partnership between City and State public authorities is suggested, directly financing the construction of the building and also seeking resources from international funding, due to its relevance for the city and the population, donations from individuals and large companies from Goiás can contribute, even partially, to its realization. 
  4. Finally, the urban rehabilitation of the sidewalks, paving, landscaping and urban equipment of the square and the central sidewalk on 26 St. must be executed in partnership with large companies from Goiás, which, by signing a contract for the adoption of public spaces in the city, will promote the renovation and subsequent maintenance of such sections of the avenue, ensuring their cleanliness and conservation. On the other hand, companies will have spaces for advertising this gesture of kindness to the city and will still be able to make use of Culture Incentive Laws at all levels – municipal, state and federal -, to the extent that they establish an implementation project and management of fairs and cultural activities that will take place in these areas.


About guidelines on urban environmental heritage preservation

The preservation of the environmental heritage implies two basic conditions: firstly, the conservation of built heritage; secondly, the creation of urban characteristics control conditions through the propositions of land occupation indicated above, and also through an effective Square urban design, which contributes to reinforce the structuring role of its original design in relation to the central sector of the city’s urban fabric. For the preservation of the built heritage, we consider it essential to grant benefits such as tax exemption for owners who promote the conservation of their properties’ original characteristics, when the property in question presents historical and artistic interest to the municipality. The listing of such buildings, in addition to those already officially listed by law, can be done through the creation of a commission, composed by architects, urban planners and historians, with the support of the Institute of Architects and under the coordination of the Municipal Planning Secretariat, which will then analyze, case by case, the importance of the buildings located in the first urban core of the city. Any changes in the use of these buildings would also be submitted to the analysis of this committee, always seeking to favor those uses indicated in the use and occupancy guidelines previously presented above.



Finally, the project for the Civic Square seeks, on one hand, to recover the importance the city’s original layout as a structuring element of the entire central sector; while on the other hand, it recovers its importance of use, insofar as every habitable space must have the purpose of meeting a clear demand, the creation of supports for human life: it is through use that the meaning of space is constructed. In this sense, the implementation of the proposed uses is as fundamental as the implementation of physical interventions that alter the urban design of the square, making it more habitable and restoring its importance for the citizens of Goiás.