Urban Redesign of the Surrounding of Praça da Liberdade

Architects Alexandre Brasil, André Luiz Prado, Bruno Santa Cecília e Carlos Alberto Maciel
Collaborators Enara Paiva, Henrique Boabaid, Michelle Christina Souza, Clara Magalhães, Plínio Santos e Ulisses Mikhail Itokawa
Location Belo Horizonte, MG, Brasil
Project 2008
Construction 2010 - 2013
Photos Gabriel Castro, Bruno Santa Cecília e Carlos Alberto Maciel

“Space is the unequal accumulation of time.”
Milton Santos

The project of Praça da Liberdade stemmed from the need to reconcile the architectural design of the Cultural Circuit of Praça da Liberdade and the public areas which surround the square. It potentializes the residual surrounding areas, increasing public use through its redesign and the reduction of vehicle parking areas. It aims to induce indeterminate uses and free appropriation of the public realm.
The main goal of an urban project is to contribute to the definition of an effective public domain, less related to consumption and more focused on the understanding of the city as a public place.
Rather than being overstated, the urban design should almost dissolve, acquiring an invisibility that allows to emphasize its potential as a support and should offer people possibilities not even imagined previously. This premise allows the approach of architecture and urban design as a kind of infrastructure, which represents certainly the most discreet of all human works, providing “essential supports for the unpredictability of life”, as Le Corbusier once said. The necessity of discretion avoids the monumental, individualistic work and gives attention to the construction of territory, the seam of the urban texture, the constitution of a public space in fact, as well as to the recognition of history and time. This comprehension derives from the conviction that the construction of the city can be only a collective and inter-generational effort. In addition, a new intervention in a consolidated environment should stand as another layer among many others, increasing the virtues of what was built before.