Location: Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Architects: Vazio A/S
Project Team: Carlos M Teixeira, Daila Araújo, Leonardo Rodrigues
Area: 100,000 sqm
How to insert the Municipal Administrative Center in the most symbolic axis of Belo Horizonte? Is it possible for one to praise the urban void of Afonso Pena avenue through its occupation – not through its preservation?
Could this point of converging modes of transportation – metro station, BRT terminals, terminal of urban bus, bike paths – become the solution of all dislocations, congestions and failures of the Center?
This proposal assumes a posture that explores this contradiction: a building hyperdensity of 100,000 sqm as a compliment of the urban void and as a way to restructure the frayed urban fabric. Formally, CABH is divided in two as if it was broken by the Afonso Pena axis, occupying and releasing simultaneously this axis.
The building parts of a geometric language that exploits reversive lines: in response to the axis, a diagonal slit opens up between the two parts, as the recurrent language of abstract diagonals in the neo-concrete sculptures that permeate the city, by artists such as Amilcar de Castro and Franz Weissman.
In this reading of a situated context between public art and urban design, we’ve also considered the sculpture “Freedom in the Balance” (1982) by the neo-concrete artist Mary Vieira.
Framing the avenue, this work is an element that embodies the empty shaft and implies the importance of Serra do Curral in the city, being both – the Serra and the sculpture – fundamental references in designing the building. Its diagonal language is a result of the displacement of the four vertices of the main volume.
Is this displacement which outlines a triangular slit between the two buildings, referring to the iconography of CABH and another sculpture in the axis of Afonso Pena (“Monument to Peace”, the vertical sculpture of Praça do Papa), to the plasticity of the of the city blocks axis on 45º, to the original urban plan of the nineteenth century, to the iconic triangle on the State flag.