It's not unreasonable to liken our fair city to a sea of concrete, but São Paulo's got some clean, green eco-architecture up its sleeve. Between sustainable buildings and ecologically focused architecture firms, the future looks as verdant as ever.
Estação USP Leste
To win certification from the US Green Building Council, CPTM, the region’s commuter rail service, is retrofitting this three-year-old station with ‘intelligent lights’ and water-saving bathroom fixtures (cptm.sp.gov.br).
This three-storey cultural centre, built with demolition materials, hosts the Setembro Verde (Green September) environmental fair and has planted about 400 trees downtown. Rua Rêgo Freitas 542, República (3256 2636, matilhacultural.com.br).
Espaço Brasileiro de Arquitetura
This São Paulo-based architecture firm has designed ecologically conscious homes and institutions, like the Biblioteca Nacional de México, with recycled materials and eco-friendly fabrics (eb-arq.com).
An educational eco-playground for kids at one of the city’s biggest parks, Villa Ambiental has benches made from recycled materials and uses rainwater for its plants. Parque Villa-Lobos, Alto de Pinheiros (3023 0316, criancaecologica.sp.gov.br).
A grass-covered roof and a dancefloor that re-directs energy from the dancers to the light sockets make up ‘Latin America’s first sustainable event venue’, giving ‘tripping the light fantastic’ a whole new meaning. Rua Amaro Cavalheiro 158, Pinheiros (3846 7112, ecohouseeventos.com.br).
Franco-Brazilian designers Triptyque have created an exquisite example of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities in the building that houses the fashion store Farm (Rua Harmonia 57, Vila Madalena, 2924 7660, farmrio.com.br). Porous cement cladding lets 5,000 plants grow from the external walls, irrigated by rainwater from the roof. Triptyque’s modus operandi is that buildings, like their surroundings, should breathe, age and regenerate.