Four aspects were decisive in the design process of Milton Campos square:
1 – the consideration of the existing structure of the place through the visualization of potential spaces to be created and of the privileged views from the adjacent public roads, in addition to identifying the character of possible spaces, in terms of light and shadow, slope, and basic dimensions.
2 – the consideration of various uses supported by the public space, seeking to enable adequate and varied appropriation by users through the differentiation between spaces meant for rest and those meant for events, creating both routes and places of stay, in addition to the correct arrangement of benches and equipment.
3 – the consideration of the memory of the Carmo Church, or its (re)invention, through the experience of using the public space, beyond the mere visual reference to the pre-existing building, indicating its symbolic presence through the sound of bells that marked the baroque religiosity, and the tactile and also visual experience of its textures and colors, from the stone base to the white plaster of the tower, to be recreated in the monument’s built set.
4 – the consideration of execution feasibility, both in terms of cost savings and time savings, based on the creation of minimum elements, seeking to extract maximum expressiveness from them, which is achieved through the use of low-cost materials, and the creation of constructive elements that at the same time define the spaces and function as urban equipment.
Through the visualization of the square’s structure, the existence of two parts with distinct character was identified: the first, in the lowest part of the square, with greater width and reduced afforestation, suggesting an esplanade, freer, open, allowing several uses for events of all kinds – social, political, religious, leisure; the second, narrower and with more trees, in the section closest to “Casa de Cultura”, indicating a space for rest and tranquility.
The grand longitudinality of the space was also pointed out, reinforced by the extensive projected benches-bleachers and by the floor lines that mark the presence of the monument, whose location coincides with the place where the Church used to be located. Such longitudinality guarantees the possibility of “footing”, which takes place along said benches, allowing several different routes. This scenario emphasizes the urbanity and encounter character of the square, in which people see and are seen, guaranteeing the necessary coexistence that is so important and rare in today’s public spaces.
In addition to the mere identification of already existing uses, we sought to enable various user appropriations, granting the created spaces greater flexibility, which can be occupied by either small events, such as music and theater presentations, or masses and religious activities, as well as to large activities, such as fairs, concerts and political demonstrations. Such suitability is achieved by the functional non-determination of spaces. The esplanade accommodates larger events, and the wooded area eventually becomes a natural extension to this space. The raised platform at the end of the benches in the highest part of the square can eventually be used as a small stage, guaranteeing meetings and smaller gatherings.
The recreation of memory takes place by recovering aspects of the religious experience of the space, beyond its mere visuality. The church is especially present through the sound of bells. The tactile and auditory experience is materialized through the recovery of sound of religiosity and through the texture present in the materials (re)used in the monument, to (re)build the memory of the Church, avoiding solutions reduced and limited to solely visual references, never perceived by users in constant distraction when using public spaces.
Physical interference in the public space of the square is reduced to a minimum. The project seeks to creatively manipulate the indispensable elements, through movements of the floor, which sometimes rises becoming benches, sometimes promotes changes in materials, reinforcing the space’s different characters and the monument’s. The reliefs are also present in the green areas that rise on slopes, always associated with the benches-bleachers, creating the necessary interiority of the square’s coexistence spaces. The monument uses easy-to-build cyclopean concrete, representing the texture of the church’s base; the steel beam, quickly executed, creates a window open to the square, representing Minas’ contemporaneity in oxidized steel technology; and reinforced concrete painted white, in memory of the white bell towers of our baroque religiosity.