Milton Campos Square

  • | share | print

    • architects: Alexandre Brasil, Carlos Alberto Maciel
    • prizes: 1st prize in national competition
    • consultant:
    • collaboration:
    • location: Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais,Brazil
    • built area:
    • competition:
    • project: 1999
    • construction:
    • photos:
    • images:

  • This project was result of the wining proposal of the Competition for Milton Campos Square. To see the competition material, click HERE.

    Four aspects were decisive in the elaboration of the design of the Milton Campos square:
    1- the consideration of the existing structure, through the visualization of the potential spaces to be created and the privileged views from the surrounding streets, besides the identification of the character of the spaces, regarding light and shadow, the sloping topography, and basic dimensions.
    2- the consideration of multiple uses that a public space can have, allowing an adequate and varied appropriation by the users through the differentiation of the resting and events areas, the creation of routes, paths, and permanence areas, and also the correct distribution of benches and other equipments.
    3- the consideration of the memory of the Igreja do Carmo, or its (re)invention, through the experience of use of the public space, going beyond the sheer visual reference to the pre-existing building. To indicate its symbolic presence through the ringing of the bells that marked the character of the baroque religiousness of the past, and the tactile and visual experience of the base’s textures and colors and of the white plaster of the tower, to be remade in the built ensemble of the monument.
    4- the consideration of the execution’s viability, in the economy of resources as well as of time, through the minimal introduction of elements, seeking to extract from them as much expressiveness as possible. This is to be achieved through the use of low-cost materials and the creation of construction elements that are able to define spaces and work as urban equipments at the same time.
    From the visualization of the square’s structure, the existence of two parts with distinct characters was identified: the first, on the square’s lower part, with greater width and less trees, suggesting a esplanade, freer, more open, so as to allow diversified uses for all kinds of events – social, political, religious, leisure; the second, narrower and with more trees, on the portion closer to the Casa de Cultura, indicating a space for rest and tranquility.
    A longitude of the space was also identified, reinforced in the long bleacher-like benches and in the lines of the pavings that mark the presence of the monument, whose location coincides with the site where the church used to be. The longitude guarantees the possibility of the “footing” along the benches, defining distinct paths and routes. This happening emphasizes the urban and meeting character, in which people see and are seen, guaranteeing the necessary social exchange that is so important and rare in today’s public spaces.
    Beyond the sheer identification of the existing uses, the possibility of varied appropriations by the users was sought through making the created spaces more flexible, so as to serve small-scale events, such as plays and music presentations, masses and religious activities, as well as large-scale events, such as fairs, music concerts, and political demonstrations. This adequacy is made possible because of the non-determination of the function of the spaces. Larger events can be held at the esplanade, and the wooded area can sometimes behave as an extension of this space. The elevated landing generated by the benches at the higher portion of the square can sometimes be used as a small stage, in order to guarantee the meeting area of a small-scale gathering.
    The recreation of memory happens through the reclamation of aspects from the experience of the religious space that goes beyond their sheer visualization. The church is made present especially through the ringing of the bells. The tactile and hearing experience is materialized in the recovery of the sound of religiousness and in the texture of the material (re)used in the monument, as they (re)build the memory of the church. The solutions reduced and limited to visual references is avoided, as they are never perceived by the users, who are constantly in an attitude of distraction as they go about in the public space.
    The physical interference in the public space of the square is reduced to a minimum. A creative way of manipulating the indispensable elements was sought through the pavings’ movements, as they reinforce the distinct characters of the spaces and also the presence of the monument. The mounds are also present in the green areas, as they elevate in slopes, always associated to the bleacher-like benches, creating the necessary interior character of the square’s common spaces. The monument is made with cyclopean concrete, which is easily executed, representing the texture of the church’s base; the steel beam, of fast execution, creates a window to the square, representing the mines’ contemporaneity in the oxidized steel technology; and the reinforced concrete, painted in white, bears the memory of the white bell towers of the baroque religiousness.