Skip to main content
SearchLoginLogin or Signup

Surgical Acupuncture: A Case Study in São Paulo

Published onJun 23, 2020
Surgical Acupuncture: A Case Study in São Paulo

This project employs obsolete and vacant architecture in downtown São Paulo as programmatic and opportunistic infrastructure that catalyzes a series of seeded events and grassroots developments. 

Characterized by continuous fluctuations and constant reconstruction, São Paulo is a territorial and polynucleated palimpsest where the new overrides the already existing. It is not only the physical appearance of the city that is in constant flux, but also its social composition. The urban development of São Paulo is tangled in an unresolved paradox: while the metropolis continues to sprawl uncontrollably onto non-structured peripheral lands through informal settlements, the built historical center undergoes severe degradation and is left with an overabundance of infrastructure and underutilized buildings awaiting reimagination.  


This project expresses critical reflections regarding preservations, reuse and restorations involving the transformation of architectural and urban sites in the historical downtown of São Paulo, and proposes for a new city manifesto that employs adaptive reuse as an opportunity to initiate a bottom-up, participatory development of the urban context. Eight narratives, each with its theme extracted from existing cultural and infrastructural contexts, are sited in vacant buildings across downtown to form a constellation of surgical deployments that effectuates a new mobile network of connections rooted in a bottom-up urbanism. 

Abel Hernandez:

This project offers a compelling vision for revitalizing São Paulo's historic downtown. Utilizing obsolete architecture as a foundation for grassroots developments is a creative solution to the city's urban paradox. Adaptive reuse can transform underutilized buildings into vibrant community hubs, fostering participatory development and addressing the city's sprawl issues. This bottom-up approach could serve as a model for sustainable urban regeneration.

Calculadora Alicia