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CASE STUDY: Praça Franklin Roosevelt


Architects

Roberto Coelho Cardozo, Marcos de Souza Dias, Antônio Augusto Antunes Netto, Luciano Fiaschi

Dates

1967-1970

Description

Praça Roosevelt is another infrastructure-led project, a concrete lid on the expansion of an east-west motorway, commissioned by the city from private architects. Like the Southbank Centre in London, Roosevelt was an innovative concrete megastructure and housed a multifunctional programme, including a supermarket, a restaurant, a school, a playground, a parking lot, and gathering/performance spaces. Though a failure in urban terms and subsequently demolished, it was a new kind of public space in São Paulo, divided into sub-squares housing particular programmes, for instance the ‘Plaza Mayor’ for public gatherings. The multiple levels made the structure impossible to understand easily, however, and required the negotiation of uninviting ramps and stairs. There was, however, perhaps as much of a maintenance and management failure as a design failure: although the city commissioned the space, it didn’t commit enough resources to running it, or find others to do so.

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