Heliópolis Urbanization Glebe H

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The housing project and urban plan Heliópolis Glebe H, in this neighborhood from São Paulo, one of the biggest favela in Brazil with over than 130.000 people, the biggest city of Latin America, is the second of Brazilian architectural office Vigliecca & Associados at this community. The first one, called Heliópolis Glebe A (2012), became a reference to the dwellers, who asked for similar houses when a new housing development was announced. They considered the apartments’ wide service area as one of the projects highlights that contributes to quality of life.

The biggest challenge of this project was to integrate the new buildings to a former housing project by COHAB – Metropolitan Housing Company, which was not completed – from nine buildings only five were built, three were unfinished and one was destroyed by fire – and generated an irregular space void that was occupied by shanties.

Vigliecca’s project proposal was to give a urban design to these residual areas left between the COHAB buildings – where people lived in a precarious and unhealthy situation – with new buildings, migrating the shanties dwellers to the apartments, and creating public spaces and leisure areas. Furthermore, the redevelopment of the area provides links between pedestrians and vehicles, public and private area.

The COHAB buildings that were partially constructed and damaged, as well as the shanties, were removed. The architects have created an internal road system, with no curbs or gutters which reinforce the idea of unity. The surface drainage occurs in the axis of the street, and the new housing units are integrated with the existing blocks. They also have created a recreation area with a playground, a square and a sports court. Poles to illuminate the square and the sport court were installed. The project also undertook site’s reforestation.

The architects opted for low-rise buildings with different housing units, in a maximum of five floors in order to generate a friendly relationship with the pre-existing buildings and neighborhood. Altogether, 200 units were created, with 50 square meters and two bedrooms each. “Heliópolis Gleba H urban plan and housing project is not simply the literal answer to an isolated problem of social housing construction, but it is related of the construction of the city. We don’t use a preconceived model of the formal city, we design based on local conditions, taking into account architecture, geography, spatial and social structures”, says architect and urban planner Héctor Vigliecca, founder of Vigliecca & Associados.

São Paulo (SP)


São Paulo City Hall / SEHAB

Intervention area:
11.466 m²

Built area:
13.950 m²

Housing units:
200 units, 3 typologies, between 41 and 54 m²

Surrounding density:
174,5 hab/ha

Project density:
716,5 hab/ha

Héctor Vigliecca, Luciene Quel, Neli Shimizu, Ronald Werner, Caroline Bertoldi, Kelly Bozzato, Pedro Ichimaru, Bianca Riotto, Paulo Serra e Luci Maie

Consórcio Domus

Foundation engineering:

General contractor:
Consórcio Urbanizar (Construbase e Engeform)

Interior-designed model apartment:

Consórcio Urbanizar

Interior-designed model apartment photo:

São Paulo City Hall / SEHAB

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