Reinforcing Centralities

Te.MIGRA is the answer to a chronic mobility problem in a city formed around 500 years ago. And a response that uses mobility as a catalyst to compact, connect and coordinate the city with people.
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Designer(s) : Lilian Silva Costa

University : Universidade Estácio de Sá

Tutor(s) : João Flávio Araújo Folly

São Gonçalo is one of the first inhabited cities in Brazil after the domination of the Europeans for about 440 years and since then urban mobility has generated strong inequality in the territory due to the lack of urban mobility projects resulting in prioritizing access in certain neighbourhoods of the city. Currently, the city is one of the twenty most populous in the country, despite the expressive number of inhabitants, more than one million, the access does not meet the current demands, generating major traffic jams, insecurity, inequality, and inaccessibility.

The city’s accessibility problem is chronic and is perceived since the beginning of its urban density through the embryonic long lanes, which served as a way for the flow of products and served as the basis for the current road system. These longways centralized access covering only part of the territory. Existing urban accessibility projects intervene only on these roads, intensifying the economic dependence of São Gonçalo in the neighbouring cities of Rio de Janeiro and Niterói due to the large number of jobs and services offered in both municipalities, configuring itself as a dormitory city for many of its residents.

Added to this logic, the spatial structure of the city presents the establishment of centralities, which are the concentration of activities, accesses and transport, and sub-centres located on the main routes of movement. But, it is worth noting that such centres emerged without planning and, because of the ease of accessing such places, which confirms the influence of mobility on the socio-economic development of a city.

Based on this, how is it possible to solve a chronic problem in a city for almost 500 years? How can architecture, urbanism, and design help the development of a city through its urban mobility?

Under the current context of São Gonçalo, the project aims to create a mobility infrastructure capable of ensuring the pulverization of accesses and the connection between diversified regional centralities and subcenters to generate more economic poles, and reduce dependence on the Capital and connect currently marginalized areas.

Based on the idea presented by the Integrated Urban Development Plan (PDUI) in 2018, the General Proposal for Urban Mobility presented here is developed from in-depth research of the main internal and external displacements of São Gonçalo and the overlap of existing projects carried out by the public power of mobility. From the survey of public data referring to public transport routes, priority interventions are confirmed only on already saturated roads, concentrating activities services and equipment.

Thus, four integrated terminals are established that direct people to diversified destinations throughout the Metropolitan Region and the interior of São Gonçalo, creating potential areas for socioeconomic growth from the pulverization of access by public transport. After the General Proposal for Urban Mobility, the Te.MIGRA project is deployed and designed according to the Traffic Oriented Development method (TOD), to compact, connect and coordinate the city to people through urban mobility planning with the use of the soil.

“An advanced city is not one where even the poor can get around using the car, but one where even the rich use public transport.” – Enrique Peñalosa

Gradim is a residential neighbourhood, but with factory remnants due to the time when São Gonçalo was one of the main industrial cities in Brazil in the 20th century. Even after the development of the city in the third sector, this peculiarity of the neighbourhood remained in recent years, making Gradim beach private and home to many abandoned warehouses. The definition of the neighbourhood is due to the soil of the neighbourhood beach, which facilitates the opening of the boats; its strategic location close to the structural roads of São Gonçalo and the main existing centres and the strong potential to create a centrality close to the seafront. It was also considered the opportunity to reintegrate Gradim into the city and make it an attractive place for people, making them through the interventions presented.

Due to the great impact generated by the Terminal, many interventions are considered in its immediate surroundings to strengthen the architecture through urbanism considering the entire context as a place and a constituent part of the project. Thus, the immediate surroundings and the Terminal project are worked together through guidelines that maintain them as a symbiosis. Some of these interventions are the removal of underused and abandoned warehouses on Gradim beach; the project for Avenida Manoel Duarte; the implementation of a new traffic light to maintain flows; the renovation of Pontal Square; the release of Gradim beach; the renovation of the existing pier at the Fishermen Colony and the creation of the Income and Work Generator Program for fishermen to prevent future gentrification in the area.

Decisions were defined based on the following concepts: The urban context influences the architectural form; the architectural program focused on people creates a space of permanence and meetings, not transition. The project as an extension of the city evokes experiences and new memories; visual permeability integrates the urban landscape and architecture through tectonics and layout and tactical urbanism through strong colours and irregular shapes on the floor, which provide dynamism and interaction between pedestrians and the place.

Te.MIGRA has about 21000sqm of built area and directs 20% of trips to the city and 80% are intercity. In this way, 67,000 daily passengers and 48,191,448 annual trips are served using articulated VLP, articulated, and Padron buses, bicycles, cars, ferry boats, and on foot. The implantation considered the climatic conditions, flows, and permeability, being sensitive to the road design when “embracing” the street and protecting passengers’ onboarding. The layout was designed based on more and less intense flows, being flexible as needed. On the mezzanine, the slab with cutouts allows visual permeability between levels, to maximize the interaction between people and space.

The elevated topography to the east interferes with morning sunlight and prevailing ventilation. Thus, the implantation was rotated to the Northside to take advantage of the second most predominant ventilation and direct the transport noise towards the beach and not towards the residents.
The project aims to develop the city of São Gonçalo socioeconomically through mobility and make it a place of good memories in the hearts of people who know it through these interventions that respect the city and think collectively.