“[The] essential thing in architecture is not the graphic aspect that marks it, but the ambience that enlivens the space, that gives it soul (…)”
Edgar Albuquerque Graeff
Our project for Workers’ Square takes the following aspects as basic principles:
- Valuing the void, based on understanding the area’s vocation as a large urban park, which incorporates diversified uses, enhancing its appropriation by the various agents that make up the city;
- The re-proposition of the land’s occupancy and use possibilities, in order to make feasible the strategy called Urban Operation, already foreseen in the Land Use legislation of the Municipality. Through this instrument, we propose the exchange of the area attached to the square, which is private property, in exchange for the construction and operation of a tower complex for offices and/or hotels and a commercial complex at ground level. This vertical set would allow for greater use of the soil, creating a focus of movement that contributes to the urban space’s vitality, filling the place with different uses and events. It also avoids, with its location displaced from the perspective axis of Goiás Av., the competition with the verticality of the Station tower building, preserving its scale and monumentality as the final element of the Avenue’s perspective;
- The integration of the three differentiated physical areas into one large park, diverting the connection between the two sections of Goiás Avenue, which currently cuts the area in half, towards the west edge of the land;
- The integration of diversified public transport systems, the north-south underground subway, the east-west air subway over the deactivated track of the railway line, the urban bus system and road transport in their respective equipment interrelated through a large commercial space, the Incubadora de Comércios e Serviços (Trade and Service Incubator), taking advantage of the large flow of pedestrians generated by public transport equipment to locate street vendors;
- Requalification of the old Railway Station building, granting it a cultural use and associating it with a cinema and food complex that creates a focus of interest for those who circulate Goiás Av., and which extends transversely towards the tower complex and shops to the east;
- The definition, through landscaping, of adequate spaces for the fair, with generous trees that contribute to the informal trade that traditionally develops there, and the provision of support equipment, such as snack bars, restrooms, and a medical center that also serve daily customers as well as the Incubator vendors.
About the section’s redesign
The park –
The redesign proposal seeks to visualize and enhance existing characteristics in the complex, emphasizing the presence of the Station building as one of the public attraction poles. Alongside it, some complementary buildings for public use were proposed related to public transport, subway stations, urban bus station, Incubator/intermodal element, and others for commerce and services, to be undertaken and operated by the private sector. Among the built elements, large green areas ensure the necessary permeability of the soil, and effectively configure the park, with medium-sized trees qualifying the space for the fair. A bike lane integrated with Goiás Avenue allows free circulation of cyclists, forming a large route in the city, with the possibility of connecting to Buritis Forest, passing through Civic Square. Interconnecting the station and the eastern part of the land, occupied by buildings intended for the private sector, a large boulevard transversal to Goiás Avenue continues the itinerant route of leisure configured by given Avenue. Along this boulevard there are several facilities for rest, leisure, gymnastics and children’s recreation, occupying areas shaded by large trees, defining microclimates, quite suitable for the city’s hot climate, which enhances socialization and the appropriation of urban space. At the end of this perspective, the relocation of the Monument to the Three Races ( currently implanted in the center of the Civic Square) is foreseen. Its transfer to Workers’ Square is justified by two reasons: firstly, because it obstructs the main view that the Goiás Av. axis provides of the Emeralds Palace, from the Civic Square; secondly, given the monument’s symbolic value, which represents the union of the three races in a common construction objective, we believe it is more strongly related to the importance of workers for the construction of the city.
The overall strategy for redesigning the Workers’ Square area is based on the search for the integration of its various fragments into one single large park, differentiating the various territories through the implementation of these two major routes that structure the whole: the East-West leisure boulevard, commerce and entertainment, and the Incubator intermodal route, North-South, linking the various means of transport. This cross demarcation for the organization of the park space recalls the organization of Roman cities, whose urban axis Cardo (North-South) and Decumanus (East-West) give legibility to the city’s general layout, whilst also accepting the various local variations that arise, overlapping its general ordering principle. This overlapping of organizational principles allows us to differentiate the various territories in order to qualify them for their most common uses, while at the same time guaranteeing a certain openness to shelter diverse uses that give the set greater vitality and multiplicity of uses and users.
About urban equipment
Several urban facilities complement the park, defining pedestrian movement points that ensure the vitality of the urban space. For this purpose, the following public spaces were created:
- Leisure complex, housing six movie theaters and a food court with cafés and restaurants, articulated with the existing old Railway Station building, to be converted into a space for cultural activities, exhibitions, small events and presentations, seminars and courses. This semi-underground annex avoids competition with the predominant volume of the Station building and its tower, which marks by itself the verticality of the complex. Its roof constitutes an open extension of the Cultural Center’s exhibition areas, and is covered in grass to visually integrate with the whole complex of the park.
- Trade and services complex, to be built and operated by the private sector, which combines an open trade center at ground level and an open mall mezzanine with four 30-story office towers that design the skyline of Goiânia city, marking the urban landscape insofar as they oppose the dominant horizontality of the park and other built, existing and proposed elements. This set defines an active center of the city’s economic life, characterizing the large boulevard for pedestrians and cyclists as a 24 Hours Street that runs frontally through the entire park, connecting the set with the former Station and the aforementioned leisure complex. Contributing to the characterization of this 24-hour space, we propose to encourage the recycling of uses of properties located in the adjacent block, which laterally delimits part of this boulevard.
- Urban bus system station, between the bus station and the tower complex, allowing the interrelation of up to 70 different bus lines, articulating the trunk-feeder system in order to minimize the impact of public transport on the city’s central sector as a whole. Its location in this complex is privileged, firstly, for its easy access provided by Independência Avenue; secondly, for the possibility of integrating the various north-south subway and east-west subway transport systems, in addition to the Bus Terminal.
- Metro stations, for the north-south lines, already proposed by the State Government, and east-west, to be implemented in the remaining sections of the train line. For the latter, we proposed the use of an aerial system that, in the section of the park, dives underground and defines the final underground station.
About urban operation mechanisms: towers, shoppings and leisure centers for private exploration
In order to promote the transformation of the private property located behind the railway station into a public space, thereby avoiding its occupation with any type of building that constitutes a background for the station’s figure, compromising its character as a monument, as happened with the Emeralds Palace, the proposed project treats this space as a forested park that will house the great fair. As expropriation mechanisms are extremely costly for the government, we propose the use of an mechanism called Urban Operation, which, in common agreement with the landowners, transfers all its constructive potential to another portion of the area, which will be governed by special features guidelines, thus allowing better use of the ground by verticalizing the towers, whilst preserving the ground level for public use. It is important to highlight the importance of this mechanism: on one hand, it allows a large-scale urban initiative to be executed without burdening public authorities; on the other hand, by promoting special legislation on land use and occupancy for the specific piece of land to be granted to private enterprise, it allows for greater exploration of the land, with the possibility of unique verticalization in the city, which at the same time makes the development attractive for the private sector, as well as creating a benchmark for this urban space due to the uniqueness of such intervention.
About road structure modifications and parking locations
The road structure, in addition to allowing the movement of people throughout the urban fabric, can reinforce or minimize the characteristics of the city’s layout, emphasizing axes, perspectives and demarcating places. Seeking to re-propose the road structure including these considerations that go beyond its mere functionality, the traffic design presented seeks to recover the importance of the node that marks the meeting of Goiás Av. with Independence Av., emphasizing the presence of the important focal point that is the Station. To achieve so, we fragmented the intense car traffic at Independência Av., lowering it on a leveled crossing that also constitutes one of the accesses to the underground parking under the Square in front of the Station. Over this passage, a large circular square articulates the connections between both avenues, avoiding conflicts between pedestrians and the intense traffic resulting from Independence Avenue. The choice for this large circulation ring recovers in Workers’ Square the road organization strategy that characterizes the city’s layout, which originally uses the radiocentric element of the square as an articulator of the various road flows coming from different directions. One of the main influences that Attílio Corrêa Lima absorbs from neoclassical urbanism is the asterisk organization, seen in Versailles, Karlsruhe and Washington. The recovery of this principle, associating it with the modern proposition that seeks the land’s liberation and its destination for public use, is complemented with the search for an independence between automobile and pedestrian flows, prioritizing the second and expanding the possibilities of democratizing the use of urban space. Yet another premise guided the urban redesign of Workers’ Square: the constant search for a multiplicity and variety of uses, as a way to ensure the vitality that permanent occupation at alternate and different times can provide. Another relevant aspect of modifying the road layout is the connection between Goiás Avenue and its continuation towards north. The option for defining the route to the west is done due to several reasons: firstly, because it allows a more integrated use of the park, avoiding the ruptures and discontinuities caused by the current route, reintegrating the station into the entire terrain; secondly, for enabling the implementation of the intermodal route that articulates all the different means of transportation, separated from heavy traffic; and lastly, for allowing continuous access for pedestrians and cyclists between Goiás Avenue and the land, ensuring a continuity of route for the bus station. For the accesses to the Bus Station, the existing flows were preserved. For the urban bus transfer station, it is proposed to use adjacent roads with less traffic in order to minimize conflicts between bus accesses and the heavy traffic on Independência Avenue. Its lowered location on the ground allows road articulations on two levels, differentiating the landing and boarding areas, once again privileging pedestrian routes. It is important to emphasize, however, that, due to the intense flow generated, the implementation of urban equipment of this size will necessarily require a careful study of the environmental and urban impact in the immediate surroundings. For access to the equipment planned for the Incubator area, loading and unloading areas, cinemas and towers, local transit routes inside the land were planned to articulate the different equipments, allowing more immediate access, while still demarcating the territory of the old station, reinforcing its centrality with a circular ring that surrounds it and grants access to the leisure complex that the building configures. Regarding parking lots, several alternatives and operating modalities were proposed. The first defines an underground space under the Station annex, serving more immediate users of the fair, cinema and Culture Center, with 178 parking spaces. Two other parking alternatives serve the rest of the complex: the existing courtyard of the Bus Terminal, already planted with trees, and another large parking lot under the towers, with 1620 parking spaces, which serves both the users of the proposed commercial spaces and services, residents of Popular neighborhood and also the fairs and other activities. All parking spaces can be operated by the private sector. The parking lot under the towers should also have a number of spaces reserved for its users, and shall have a direct connection with the mall and office buildings.
About the integration of the various transport systems
The intermodal station –
One of the main structuring elements of the large space that defines the Workers’ Square, guaranteeing the vitality and movement of the urban space, is the route that at the same time houses the Trade and Services Incubador and articulates the intermodal exchanges between the various equipment and transport systems. Taking advantage of the itinerancy generated by transfers between the systems, a large linear coverage with basic support infrastructure shelters street commerce, associating spaces for courses and training, which characterizes the Trade and Services Incubator. To be coordinated by the municipal government, and administered by private and non-governmental associations, such as the Câmara de Dirigentes Lojistas and Associação Centro Vivo de Goiânia, the Incubator aims to insert street vendors in formal commerce, giving them appropriate training and necessary support for its definitive establishment in another location, and supporting them in the transition between the street and formal vending in this structure of temporary permanence. The implantation of the Incubator in this location is justified for two reasons: firstly, the solution creates a desired continuity of pedestrians between complementary public facilities that must necessarily be interconnected, apart from heavy automotive traffic. Secondly, the large flow of pedestrians guarantees the excellent location of street vendors. In addition, the Incubator reinforces the importance of the square as a commercial place, and provides support and infrastructure for the traditional fair that takes place there on weekends.
About landscaping and the fair
The proposed landscaping for the Workers’ Square is based on the following principles:
- Understanding the region’s climate characteristics, which requires the configuration of microclimates in shaded areas to allow the necessary comfort that provides the human appropriation of urban space;
- The planting of typical trees from the Brazilian Cerrado that bloom at different times of the year, defining permanent chromatic variations that guarantee constant heterogeneity, enriching the urban space perception; another important aspect is the good adaptability to the region’s climate, and the possibility of recovering the local flora’s importance, emphasizing the relevance of Goiás as a storehouse of vegetation species that feeds the entire national territory. This landscaping option also sets a counterpoint to the original landscaping of the main thoroughfares in the city’s central sector; In this sense, we selected the following species, which present complementary blooms:
– White Ipê Tabebuia roseo-alba
– Quaresmeira Tibouchina sp.
– Cerrado Ipê Caesalpinea peltophoroides
– Brazilian Orchid Tree Bauhinia forficata
– Sibipiruna Caesalpinia pluviosa
The palm trees indicated for the Workers’ Square area are the following species:
– Licuri Palm Syagrus coronata or Queen Palm Syagrus romanzoffiana
The seedlings must be at least 2.00 meters tall, planted with shackles to lower root influence, and metallic protectors.
- The use of permeable floors under the forest area, alternating gravel with ground brick and pirenópolis stone residue with grass, to allow the necessary drainage and at the same time contribute to the sectorization of the spaces for the fair by the color differences of different floors;
- The characterization, through afforestation, of two main spaces for the public to stay in the open air mentioned above, and their differentiation in relation to the grassy esplanades that give greater monumentality to the buildings, especially to the Railway Station, and also to the towers and commercial complex;
- Differentiation of places and paths with shrubby landscaping and colorful coverings, which recovers the importance of ornamental landscaping with varied colors and designs, traditionally implemented in the main squares of the city.
About management and feasibility of proposals
Some management strategies allow the feasibility of the proposals presented in this project, namely:
- In order to make some of the interventions built in the urban landscape feasible, such as the underground parking in front of the Station and the restoration and construction of the annex to the Station building, 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.
- For urban bus and metro stations – it will be necessary to seek funding for infrastructure, with a desirable partnership with the State Government, due to the possibility of integrating both Metro initiatives: the north-south and east-west lines. Another strategy for making these equipment feasible is the concession of their exploitation to the private initiative, or even the concession of advertising spaces, which, due to the high flow of passers-by, have great exploitation potential, which can be reversed in advance financing for its construction by the private sector.
- In order to make the park area viable, with trees providing shade for the fair, it will be necessary, as already presented, to use the “Urban Operation” mechanism, encouraging construction in the specific area defined by the towers project, allowing greater constructive potential than the land to be exchanged.
- Finally, the urban rehabilitation of sidewalks, paving, landscaping and urban equipment of the square and the proposed park 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 reform and subsequent maintenance of the adopted avenue sections, 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.
The project for Workers’ Square seeks to recover the importance of the urban void, re-proposing its destination and implementing diversified and heterogeneous uses, always seeking the vitality of this large urban space. In this sense, the implementation of the various equipment is essential to ensure the multiplicity and variety of uses and events that will make the urban space inhabited, safe and attractive for the citizens. Although the project seeks a unit of urban space, the three different areas requested in the tender’s term of reference can be visualized: the first, of various transport equipment and their interrelationship in an intermodal space, reinforces the importance of open spaces, houses the space for commerce and the training of street vendors, and ensures the necessary backbone of the built spaces, promoting itinerancy along the square; the second, related to the towers and “open mall”, concentrates commercial and leisure activities, associated with the boulevard that promotes a connection with the Station and also houses rest areas, green areas and outdoor leisure activities; the third, the Station, its grassy front square and the tree-lined park that houses the fair, houses leisure and cultural equipments, while marking the boundary of the foundational center and reinforcing the polarization of Goiás Avenue with a focus on the former Railway Station building. Thus the project was designed, with the explicit intention of presenting provocative ideas for the city that, in addition to providing an improvement in the quality of life of its inhabitants, also makes each citizen reflect on the importance of the public place and the city’s value as the space where life happens, that is, a space of struggles and conflicts, but also of respect, exchanges and encounters between the different systems and groups that produce, use and enjoy our city.