Document 2 Technical and contextual information

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1 Goethe na Vila Document 2 Technical and contextual information 1. Socio-geographical context of Vila Itororó 2. Historical context of Vila Itororó 3. Vila Itororó Canteiro Aberto 4. Floor plan of Casa 8 s ground floor, cross section and elevation of the building and its surroundings 5. Photos of Casa 8 and its surroundings 1. Socio-geographical context of Vila Itororó Vila Itororó is located in the unique Bela Vista district (the Bixiga) near the São Joaquim Metro stop: Population: There used to be a quilombo (a place of refuge for African slaves or Afrodescendants) in that region of the district, which explains the black identity in the area up to the present (samba being a most characteristic feature). Bixiga had many cortiços (small houses overcrowded with low-income populations), some of which remain today, which, in some way, maintains social diversity despite the intensive gentrification processes underway. There is a significant presence of descendants of Italian immigrants who came during the first decade of the last century. Since the 70s the presence of migrants from the Northeast and their descendants has grown. Finally, it is noteworthy that the Vila is located at the limits of the Liberdade district, a neighborhood that is traditionally Japanese, but which is today host to a sizeable Chinese population. Cultural life: Intense cultural life throughout the district with countless theaters, concert venues, bars, and intense popular culture especially samba, but also numerous artisans and craftmasters. Infrastructure: Hospitals, bus routes, and metros are present in the district. A new metro line is under construction, but not without contentions. A series of viaducts and wide avenues were built throughout the 20 th century, crisscrossing the district. Geography: The district is located on one of the slopes known as the Espigão da Paulista (Paulista Spigot region with the highest elevation in the city). Creeks, rivers and springs cross through the district, such as the Itororó Creek itself and the Saracura Creek (both flowing underneath 23 de Maio and 9 de Julho Avenues, respectively.) The land itself that Vila Itororó is on is permeated with various water sources.

2 2. Historical context of Vila Itororó Occupying about five thousand square meters of land, Vila Itororó is in the heart of what is currently known as the Bela Vista district s Bixiga, and today consists of eleven buildings, including its unique palazzo and the headquarters of the former Clube Éden Liberdade. The complex, made up of remnants of buildings designed at the beginning of the 20 th century by Francisco de Castro as rental houses, is currently being restored. Housing was always central to the use of Vila Itororó. In the 2000s, it was designated a historical landmark and of benefit to the public, and subsequently its funding for cultural purposes was taken away. As was common at the beginning of the 20 th century, demolition materials of a city undergoing continuous destruction and construction, such as windows, doors, and adornments, among other architectural elements, were reused during the first stages of Vila Itororó s construction. Over the years, numerous adaptations were made, including the incorporation of new access points, inner rooms of the buildings, new additions and sheds. Thus, the story that Vila Itororó tells is also the story of rental housing in São Paulo, its daily life and its dormant cultural life. Since the 70s, there has been ongoing discussion regarding the removal of people who lived there, due to the creation of a cultural center. How would it be possible to tell the story of the Vila taking out the people who lived there? Where would these people go? What justified changing the social function of the place? Would the way in which they organized their life in the space also be a cultural expression to be preserved? In the 2000s, the association of different artistic collectives, young activist architects and legal aid groups marked the residents resistance struggle. This collective resistance enabled a meaningful victory: the relocation of residents to social housing in the downtown area. Many, however, would have preferred to continue living in the Vila, despite the lack of maintenance by the then owner, which led to a degradation in the quality of life of the place. Vila Itororó, today, can be thought of from a perspective that understands heritage not only as something that must be preserved, as if it belonged only to a distant past, but also as a tool for transformation of the present. The Vila complex, as Francisco de Castro had designed it, is a part of a city that never became reality. Today, the Vila is a mix of utopia, dreams, impossibilities, and destruction that inspire and challenge new projects for the transformation of the urban reality of the city. 3. Vila Itororó Canteiro Aberto The current project, coordinated by São Paulo Municipality, is reviewing past decisions and plans and is opening the work site to debates about the possible future uses of Vila Itororó. The idea is to make the discussion public regarding a public good, thinking together with the city about what makes sense for the city. The Vila, now undergoing restoration, is open for experiments. In this way, there is an unprecedented and necessary discussion with regard at once to the preservation of architecture and the future uses of the space based on the history of the Vila.

3 On the Vila Itororó building site, the work of architects, engineers, construction workers and carpenters is carried out in open view. Anybody can enter the site and, in this way, instead of being a mere observer becomes part of the site, like the project s public. Amongst the offices and work tools, the visitor encounters a space in continuous construction that brings to light the Vila s recent struggles and its more distant past together with its possible futures. This space in construction grows together with its public in the midst of the debris and the renovation in progress. Everything is in construction on the open site: the past and future of the Vila with its multiple histories, contradictions and flaws; the website where the design plans will be made available; the technical challenges of restoration that demand the development of innovative technology; the notion of culture since the Vila, with its material and immaterial characteristics, cannot be a traditional cultural center; the various ways of inhabiting the Vila; public education that will exist as a result of their use of the place; the divisions of tasks between the professionals involved in the restoration that create new methods of working; the management model that São Paulo s Municipality intends to develop for the complex; and even the city itself that, based on the Vila s experience, seems to be able to be built up jointly in order to become a truly unified place. This space under construction and constructed collectively functions as a temporary cultural center or, rather, as a full-scale experiment, of another type of cultural center that is yet to come. It is a city laboratory and a spatial manifesto to show that alternatives to current models of cultural facilities exist; that heritage is alive and can be activated independent of its state of preservation; and that the future uses of the Vila must be planned based on the experiments and public debates that are happening in it today. And a few questions are posed, not so much with the intention of being answered, but rather to allow for the constant reconstruction of this Vila that has been in constant transformation: What do we understand by culture? Does culture need cultural centers in order to exist in the city? Why can t a cultural center have residences? If museums have restaurants and shops, shouldn t residences be included in the programs of cultural centers as a legitimate standard? Wouldn t maintaining a residence be preserving the place s history? Vila Itororó is an invitation to conceptualize in concrete and collective terms the city that we want. A city that is diverse, open, not characterized solely by business, but rather one that can be our common good, where culture embraces and reinvents not only artistic practices, but also what we understand as leisure, environment, housing, and living together. This does not happen without conflict. The building site is open to this end.

4 4. Floor plan of Casa 8 s ground floor, cross section and elevation of the building and its surroundings Casa 8 is a three-story building. Like the rest of Vila Itororó, this house is undergoing renovation. The project Goethe na Vila uses only Casa 8 s ground floor. It s made up of two rooms and a hallway that share a courtyard.

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6 5. Photos of Casa 8 and its surroundings

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