The sidewalk as a qualified Public Space: As shared public spaces dedicated for daily displacements of pedestrians, the sidewalks represent a large portion of the city. Nevertheless, in São Paulo, sidewalks with appropriated conditions are rare. In most of the cases they are very narrow, with irregular or no maintenance and presenting many obstacles, which discourage the circulation of pedestrians through the city.
We understand the sidewalk not only as a pavement, but as a whole environment. Its path holds a variety of urban infrastructure, such as light poles and signs, furniture and trees. That is to say that sidewalks are the interface between the street and private spaces and they are fundamental to constitute a healthy urban landscape. By qualified sidewalks we mean walkways with accessibility and pleasant to walk through
A global sidewalk: The project “All Colors Sidewalk” sought to comprehend the highest number of replicable concepts creating a global sidewalk. Among the issues raised are: urban mobility, accessibility, sustainable solutions, art, urban furniture and place making.
As the pedestrian is drawn to the sidewalk, the element that first stands out is the wood structure, which induces curiosity of those who are passing by. With seats at different heights providing different situations, possibilities and views, the structure worked as a public bleacher. At the highest levels, the bleacher dissolved into multifaceted panels which delimited the pedestrian’s path. In addition to that, the wood structure acted as visual reference for the local landscape – which shape changed as the person walked through the sidewalk. In other words, besides being an ordinary piece of urban furniture (protecting and enhancing people’s contemplation), the piece created a rich open-air environment that allowed and promoted different appropriations and social interactions.
Pavement: Pavement is the most essential element of any sidewalk. For our project, we have chosen a draining floor that allows rainwater to return to the soil. The benefits of draining floors combined with stormwater gardens ensured a substantial permeability to the sidewalk. The stormwater garden drains part of the water that flows through the gutters while the remaining portion is slowly absorbed by the soil. Implementing this type of action helps the standard urban drainage to avoid flooding, a common issue in São Paulo
Currently, cities have low green coverage and most of the areas are asphalted or concreted. This impermeabilization blocks the absorption of rainwater by the soil, quickly making saturated the urban drainage system whenever the rains are heavier, causing floodings around the city. Furthermore, choosing an appropriate pavement is crucial to guarantee accessibility so it was one of our biggest concerns. The evenness of the floor, its texture and the installation of tactile signs had an especial care when chosen and executed. The All Colors Sidewalk had tactile signs both at the pavement and on the maps, helping people with visual impairment to orient along the sidewalk. Besides tactile signage containing information on the project itself, there was also a map of the local public transportation and points of interest in the surrounding areas. A complete and inclusive sidewalk!
Urban Living Room: The sidewalk is a place of pedestrian flow, but it does not have to be only a walkway. With an appropriate width, a sidewalk can host urban infrastructure which makes the experience more pleasant and encourages people to stay. At the All Colors Sidewalk we created the concept of Urban Living Room: a furnished space where people are invited to sit, to talk, wait and rest – a living space in the middle of the city.
Besides that, different pieces of art displayed created a colorful composition throughout the pathway. Walking along Jockey Club of São Paulo’s walls before was monotonous especially due to its enormous length and lack of interesting assets. Because of that, we brought a bit of life to it through placing unique elements such as graffiti composed with crochets on the walls, hung leaves with knitted words along the path, playful furniture and informative panels. It means that besides its beautiful aesthetics, the environment also stimulated many sensory experiences. These artistic elements together with the landscape treatments transformed the existent boring and monotonous sidewalk into a dynamic and colorful ambience.
Award: The project was awarded the second prize on the category Sustainability of the Prêmio CASA, an initiative from a notorious São Paulo’s newspaper highlighting the best spaces of the CASACOR exhibition. We are also very proud that the All Colors Sidewalk was awarded the main prize on the category Ephemeral Architecture by the IABsp (Institute of the Brazilian Architects) in 2018. The traditional award had a special edition with national representation, celebrating 75 years of its foundation