Orla do Guaíba
2012 - 2018
Porto Alegre - RS, Brazil
The Guaíba Waterfront Urban Park is an important gesture by Porto Alegre City Hall, giving back to the city and its citizens the use and appreciation of one of its most precious natural assets: the Guaíba Waterfront. It is a 56.7ha intervention along 1.5km of the shore of Lake Guaíba in Porto Alegre, the largest metropolis in southern Brazil.
Serious problems related to safety, abandonment and degradation have made the area, originally part of the flood control system, a problem for the city. With the establishment of the park, a qualified meeting point is created for its 1.5 million inhabitants; 4.2 million on a metropolitan scale.
It is an urban and environmental regeneration project that will positively affect the quality of life of the people of Porto Alegre, generating systemic social, economic and environmental effects. People, culture, history and nature are connected in a virtuous circle of valorization.
Adjacent to the central area of Porto Alegre, the park is very well connected to the urban network, being easily accessible to pedestrians and cyclists, subway, buses and cars in general.
The program brings the necessary elements for the valorization of its surroundings, through the growth of tourism, real estate valuation and recovery of the natural environment. It is an integration project that brings elements of the natural and built environments, allowing people to gather and enjoy this new space, equipped with bars, cafes, sports areas, toilets, among others. What used to burden the municipality becomes an important asset, an element of sustainability, reducing costs and adding value.
The architectural qualities of the project are linked to the way it fits into the landscape, taking advantage of the topography to accommodate the necessary infrastructure and create walks to contemplate the scenery. The materials are concrete, glass, wood and steel in their natural finishes, ensuring lightness to the whole. The curved shapes take advantage of the plasticity of the concrete and the design relates to the movement of the waters, developing gently along the terrain.
The scenic dimension of the estuary will be revalued by the implementation of bleachers that run along the entire park, offering the best seats to enjoy the "most beautiful sunset in the world".
An important element of the solution is light. During the day, the sunlight and its reflections on the Guaíba guide the show; after dark, it is the turn of the architecture with its lighting design to create the semblance of a starry sky on the promenade.
The landscaping project is designed with care for the ecological aspects of this riverside habitat and seeks to reintroduce native species to the environment, promoting its regeneration. The remaining native vegetation remains respected by the built elements implanted around it. For each sector (e.g. areas subject to natural flooding or the highest dry areas), specific species have been selected. Overall, the project functions not only as a regeneration plan, but as an open, living and permanent environment for environmental education.
By restoring the natural environment and creating a new address, the park becomes a stage for various forms of cultural and artistic expression, both traditional, such as the Farroupilha Week, and new.
The built heritage present in the region - the Gasômetro Cultural Center, the Mauá Pier and the Civic Center - will gain new visibility. The constant flow of people in the park will spill over into the city center, increasing the audience for these attractions, as well as injecting new life into the local economy.
In addition, the park has a great positive impact on the social fabric of the city; by recovering a degraded area, it increases the sense of belonging of the population and demonstrates the care of the city for its heritage and its inhabitants.
Through architecture, landscaping and lighting design, in conjunction with a wide range of activities, the Guaíba Waterfront Urban Park shows how the symbiosis between the built and natural environments is possible, creating a vibrant and sustainable place in Porto Alegre.