MASTERPLAN 1-1000-01MASTERPLAN 1-1000-01

Urban Renewal of Vila Marzagão

Urban regeneration through a masterplan that targets restoration of the existent buildings in the site, new mixed-use housing, and urban solutions to create a vibrant and contemporary space in the border of two cities in the metropole of Belo Horizonte in Brazil.

An abandoned heritage site with its waterfront, Marzagão village was originally a textile industry village with its residencies for workers and buildings to accommodate leisure, medical and commercial needs dated from late 19th century. The village is situated in the border of Sabará and Belo Horizonte. The area in the 1950s had approximately 600 residents and it counts nowadays with less than 120. The emptiness of the site is home to criminality, insecurity and lack of maintenance.

The feasibility study identified key opportunities and restraints of the site. Due to its location, to the availability of job opportunities and to the quality of infrastructure, the current residents of the area have more relation to the neighbouring city, Belo Horizonte, than with Sabará where the village is located. The deterioration of the heritage assets, the lack of visual amenities and the poor quality of public transportation contribute to the emptiness of the site and to its degradation. 

Design Strategy
The design proposal addresses issues around vitality and accessibility and proposes new participatory spaces to improve the quality of life for the community. The idea is to bring back residents to the area by implementing opportunities to small businesses through urban gardening and food cooperatives. 

The masterplan consists in the urbanization of an area of 23.000m2. Six new streets to be opened the 2 existing ones will be revitalised. The creation of wider sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, and bike lanes, provides sustainable transit infrastructure and promotes a better commuting experience to pedestrians and cyclists. An urban garden can potentially create job opportunities and income for the community. The green spaces created around the grandstand functions as a public green area at the same time that they promote shading solution for the interior of the warehouses.

The geo-topographical characteristics of the site, a 20-meter change in level, determined the landscape plan. Horizontal terraces are formed as plateaux ranging from very mineral soil lining to high trees, offering shading and plenty of seating. They provide access to different street levels and guarantees accessibility. An open-air grandstand offers a gathering space and marks the centre of the village, where everything could happen. The vegetation enriches the scenery and provides the community with a place for contemplation. The chosen plants and trees are mainly natives from the region, famous for the fruitful jaboticaba that once a year fulfils the city with tasteful black berries.

Warehouses’ Renovation
Sabará is a colonial city with great relevancy in the history of Brazil. Vila Marzagão was one of the first industrial areas in the state of Minas Gerais and was responsible for the beginning of the economic development of its surroundings. The design solution designates the industrial warehouses to be home to a community theatre, a library, a sports court and a food cooperative.
The renovation of the industrial warehouse addresses the improvement of internal comfort targeting ventilation and illumination. Thresholds such as doorways and steps were explored to better organize the layout in the interior of the building.

Social Housing
Implementing mixed-use housing can guarantee the economic sustainability of the community, the vitality of the surroundings. The design proposal consists of the construction of structural concrete blocks that respects the maximum height of the existent constructions and that follows the same existent typology. The layout can be adapted to different kinds of families and the 14m2 of the flexible room could be used for an added space for the family or as a small business for income purposes.

Prize Shortlisted as Master's degree thesis Prêmio TCC CAU-MG 2018
Year 2017
Role Lead Designer & Visualiser

Category Academic work
Stage Concept Design

Location Brazil