The Arcades Redevelopment Project
São Paulo’s historic center crumbles under the weight of its own commercial success. This project addresses two significant consequences of the center’s unbridled development: 1) the way in which the city’s housing stock has been progressively replaced by storage units, effectively blocking out the upper stories of buildings in highly commercial areas; and 2) the oddity of block configurations and lot subdivisions, which has created a need (and opportunity) for alternative cross-block pedestrian circulation. Taking a common commercial typology in the city —the arcade— and forcing it to connect three different levels in the city, this scheme explores the possibility of creating a new form of cross-block circulation that provides access to the residual spaces within the block. By concentrating storage in strategically located towers, the project also frees up valuable space in the upper stories of the city, where gardens and housing units might eventually emerge.