© Perkins+Will Brazil

Dona Ana Rosa Institute // Perkins+Will Brazil

São Paulo, Brazil

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Text description provided by the architects.

When Perkins+Will was hired to develop this project for the Dona Ana Rosa Institute (IDAR) we were encouraged by the possibility of helping an organization that has proved so important to the underprivileged communities of the city of São Paulo and its neighbors. With so much history and tradition, developing this project for the IDAR was a major lesson in civility and citizenship for our team.

© Perkins+Will Brazil

© Perkins+Will Brazil

Learning about its work and the everyday lives of the children and employees was the first step towards understanding a little more about the universe that was new to our portfolio of clients and expertise. The Dona Ana Rosa Institute is a nonpartisan nonprofit civil organization with no particular creed or color, aimed at providing free assistance to underprivileged children and young people in 3 programs in partnership with the São Paulo City Hall.

© Perkins+Will Brazil

© Perkins+Will Brazil

It has been run by the directors of the Barão de Souza Queiroz Child and Youth Protection Association since 1874, operating in the social and education fields with firm goals and in accordance with the principles of its founder, Barão de Souza Queiroz.
Time has further strengthened these principles: the family remains united around an ideal of hard work and solidarity, with its doors open to the community and passing its experience on to new generations.

© Perkins+Will Brazil

© Perkins+Will Brazil

The IDAR aims to promote integration between the community, parents, students and employees to strengthen ties and provide activities that connect the Institute and families in order to guarantee users their right to basic care. It also promotes cultural, educational and sporting activities. Our philosophy can be described in only two words: HUMAN PROMOTION.
Our challenge was to insert a new building into an already built-up area in the Avenida Francisco Morato region in western São Paulo.

© Perkins+Will Brazil

© Perkins+Will Brazil

The new building will be situated within a set of structures featuring pavilions with gable roofs that were once industrial warehouses. There were two possible routes to take: either using the existing building, a warehouse with few architectural qualities and not designed for the current purposes; or creating a new model showcasing the institution’s transformation to the entire community, centering on charity work.

© Perkins+Will Brazil

© Perkins+Will Brazil

The client briefing pointed to a need and desire to follow the second model, where the new structure could be discreetly but strikingly inserted into the lives of more than 1,500 children cared for by the institution.
Our design concepts emerged based on meetings in which transformation was an ever-present term.

© Perkins+Will Brazil

© Perkins+Will Brazil

Another relevant theme was the land located in an area of clear “transformation”, in light of the new subway line, with the potential to become highly desirable in the real estate market and a negotiation could be very important to the institution’s longevity and continuity. A rational, economical, clean (activities cannot be halted) and low impact project were some of the other themes involved.
Combining all of these needs we created a “building in transformation” capable of being an exhibition center, a theater, an administrative center and a major incentive to the transformation of a community always on the margins of society.

© Perkins+Will Brazil

© Perkins+Will Brazil

Thus, we began to imagine a building that could be transformed from a solid monolithic block to a site where the open spaces are the result. We also had the significant challenge of incorporating the diversity of the proposed program and addressing the reduction of the intervention area due to large-scale expropriation by the São Paulo subway system in one area of the IDAR.

© Perkins+Will Brazil

© Perkins+Will Brazil

Our design consists of an administrative area, meeting, management and board rooms, accounts, human resources and communications offices, as well as a reception area connected to a small kitchen and waiting area. The architectural advantage is clear: two connected structures forming a provocative space and consisting of a large grey horizontal base made up of blocks and another structure, a large yellow cube, that stands out for its verticality and striking color.

© Perkins+Will Brazil

© Perkins+Will Brazil

The unification and passage of these pieces is achieved by a historic gallery with displays that depict a little of the institute’s 140-year history providing assistance to underprivileged communities. Since transformation is the focus of the project, rather than adding to the cost of the solution with expensive facilities that are not in line with the Institute’s needs, we opted to build and develop the YELLOWBOX (a contemporary version of a Black Box theater) as one of the fundamental points of the design.

© Perkins+Will Brazil

© Perkins+Will Brazil

Black Box theaters became popular and widespread in the 1960s and 1970s when experimental theater was all the rage. Since almost any warehouse or open space in any building could be transformed into a Black Box, the appeal for low income and nonprofit artists is high. Many also consider the Black Box as a place where more “pure” theater can be explored, with the most human elements in focus and relegating visual effects to the background.

In addition to including these characteristics, the YELLOWBOX proposed for the IDAR also integrates the open galleries to the beautiful and relevant gardens of large trees and the Institution’s vegetable garden, which supplies food for the canteen. Splitting the structure was in response to the client’s desire to create flexible spaces that can cater to different functions: art, exhibits, events and work.

The floor plan is organized into two spaces, on levels connected by the circulation gallery, featuring large openings that create spacious courtyards and hideaways, accompanying the existing gardens and vegetation on the land. A steel frame construction method was used. The project is clean, respectful and balanced, avoiding waste and contributing to changing and breaking paradigms in a construction industry accustomed to conventional tile and concrete solutions.

We also employed another type of transformation as a cladding element. We opted for ready-made and finished Viroc panels. Viroc is a cement fiber board panel composed of a mixture of compressed and dry pine wood particles and cement. It combines the flexibility of wood with the resistance and durability of cement, allowing for a wide range of applications in both interiors and exteriors.

Its appearance is not homogeneous, which is a natural characteristic of the product. This eliminates the need for painting and repainting the sides of this monolithic structure and enables us to create a solution where the flooring and walls use the same finish, providing savings and unity. This solution allowed us to unify the different activities and the space through architecture and finishes.

The project involves 750.00 m2 of new construction over a large existing base, which was completed to align the existing structure to the geometry of the new building. .

© Marcela Grassi

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