Urban Food Market

DesignerAlan Tse
Prize2nd Place in Architecture Categories / Landscape
Entry Description

IN THE OVERLY CONGESTED CITY OF SAO PAULO, 10 MILLION CITIZENS ARE SCATTERED ALL OVER EVERY CORNER OF THIS CITY. THE COLLIDE OF THE MANY CITY GRID ORGANIZATIONS HAS GENERATED A CHAOTIC, YET, UNIFIED TEXTURIZATION OF ITS OWN UNIQUE URBAN FABRIC. FORMALLY A TRAIN STATION, THE PROJECT’S SITE ALREADY HAS BEEN TRANSFORMED INTO A PUBLIC MARKET WHERE LOCALS AND CITIZENS FROM NEIGHBORING DISTRICTS START OFF THEIR DAILY SHOPPING RITUAL FOR FOODS, CLOTHING, AND GOODS. THE EXISTING SITE LACKS ORGANIZATION HOWEVER, WHERE MARKET STALLS ARE NOT UNIFIED OR CONTROLLED UNDER ANY GUIDELINES, NOR DOES IT GIVE ANY ATTENTION TO URBAN INTERVENTIONS. THE ADJACENT TAMANDUATEI RIVER ON THE WEST OF THE SITE REMAINS CONTAMINATED AND UNUSED. SAO PAULO WAS A GREAT EXPERIMENT FOR THE EARLY DEVELOPMENT OF MODERN ARCHITECTURE. FROM THE INFLUENCE BROUGHT BY LE CORBUSIER’S TO THE NEXT GENERATION ARCHITECTS SUCH AS OSCAR NIEMEYER, LINA BO BARDI, PAULO MENDES DA ROCHA, AND JOAN ARTIGAS, THE ARCHITECTURE OF SAO PAULO IS GROUNDED BASED ON REGIONAL CHARACTERISTICS, MATERIALIZATION, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, SECTIONAL LAYERING. FLOATING ROOFED STRUCTURES, STEPPED TERRACES, MANIPULATION OF GROUND PLANES, USE OF BARE CONCRETE AND WOOD, ARE ALL INTERESTING DESIGN STRATEGIES BRAZILLIAN ARCHITECTS HAVE USED, CREATING ITS OWN UNIQUE LANGUAGE FOR BRAZILLIAN ARCHITECTURE THAT ONE CANNOT FAIL TO RECOGNIZE. THE PARTI OF THIS DESIGN PROPOSAL THEREFORE REFLECTS ON MANY OF THESE BRAZILLIAN-OWN ARCHITECTURAL ASPECTS. IN RESPONSE TO THIS OVERLY BUILT CITY FABRIC, THE PROPOSAL OF AN OPEN FIELD DESIGN IS APPROPRIATE TO AVOID ADDING ANYMORE STRUCTURES TO THE CONTEXT. URBAN PARKS AND SMALL SCALE FARMLANDS ARE SPREAD ALONG THIS FLAT SURFACE, PROVIDING URBAN GREEN SPACES THAT THE NEIGHBORHOOD LACKS. IN TREATING THE CURRENT CONDITION OF THE TAMANDUATEI RIVER, WETLAND IS PROPOSED ON THE SOUTH END OF THE PROJECT WHERE VELOCITY OF THE RIVER BUILDS UP, FILTERING OUT THE WATER USING A NATURAL METHOD. AS THE CURRENT OF THE RIVER TRAVEL NORTH WARD TOWARDS OUR SITE, WATER CAN BECOME USABLE FOR IRRIGATION FOR THE FARMLANDS AS WELL AS A SOURCE FOR TEMPERATURE CONTROL MECHANISMS. INFLUENCED BY PRECEDENTS OF BRAZILLIAN ARCHITECTURE, THE URBAN MARKET IS INTEGRATED INTO THIS URBAN FARMLAND IN SECTION BY BUILDING BELOW GROUND, CREATING A STEPPED DIAGRAM IN A SHAPE OF BOWL. IN AN URBAN SCALE, THE OPEN FIELD PROPOSAL OFFERS BOTH SPATIAL AND PHYSICAL RELIEF FROM THE OVERLY POPULATED NEIGHBORHOOD, SIMILARLY TO SPANISH STYLE PUBLIC PLAZAS AND CENTRAL PARK IN NEW YORK. THE URBAN PARK IS DEFINED BY A 50 FT. DEEP GAP RUNNING ALONG ITS PROPERTY LINE, BUT CONNECTED WITH THE REST OF THE CITY USING PEDESTRIAN AND VEHICULAR BRIDGES TO REFLECT ON THE USE OF BRIDGES ELSEWHERE IN THE CITY. THIS 50 FT. VALENCE DOESN’T ONLY SERVE AS A BOUNDARY, BUT ALSO BECOMES A THRESHOLD TO THE URBAN PARK AS WELL AS A LIGHTWELL ILLUMINATING THE PERIMETER OF THE URBAN MARKET BELOW. FARMLANDS ARE ARRANGED IN RECTANGULAR PATCHES JUST LIKE CONVENTIONAL FARM LAND LAYOUT, IN AN ORGANIZED GRID PATTERN FORMED BY THE SUMMATION OF THE NEIGHBORING GRID SYSTEMS. THIS UNIFICATION OF GRID LAYOUTS IS THE FIRST ATTEMPT IN STITCHING THE FRAGMENTED DISTRICTS INTO ONE SINGULAR SYSTEM. A DIFFERENT DIMENSION IS ADDED ONTO THIS HORIZONTAL PLANE: SUNKEN COURTYARDS. AS SEEN IN LINA BO BARDI’S AND PAULO MENDES DA ROCHA, HORIZONTAL GROUND PLANES ARE ALWAYS HANDLED IN A PLAYFUL MANNER IN THE SECTION OF THEIR PROJECTS WHERE THE ORIGINAL GROUND PLANE IS CONSTANTLY RE-ESTABLISHED. ESPECIALLY WHEN EXPANSION OF THE CITY IN PLAN HAS ALREADY REACHED ITS MAXIMUM CAPACITY, SECTIONAL EXTENSION OF THE GROUND PLANES IS YET TO BE EXPLORED. DUE THE NEED FOR MORE FACILITATED AND CONTROLLED RECREATION AREAS, COURTYARDS FOR RECREATIONAL PURPOSES ARE SUNKEN INTO THE GROUND PLANES, FURTHERING THE CONCEPT OF SPATIAL RELIEF FROM THE CONGESTED CITY. INSPIRED BY REGIONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF BRAZIL, TOPOGRAPHIC DRAMA OF FAVELAS AND BRAZILLIAN FOOD VENDORS DESIGN SPARKED AN IDEA OF A STEPPED ARENA. CONCRETE STALLS FOR VENDORS ARE SPREAD ALL ALONG THE SURFACE OF THE URBAN MARKET, WITH VEHICULAR PATHWAYS AND PEDESTRIAN WALKWAYS IN BETWEEN. BORROWING THE IDEA OF SPORT STADIUM DESIGNS AND THE ARRANGEMENT OF FOOD PROCESSING MENTIONED ABOVE, THE URBAN MARKET IS DESIGNED IN A BOWL SHAPE CAPTURING THIS FAVELA-LIKE IMAGERY, MUSICAL NOTES FROM THE OPERATING VEHICLES, CHATTING BETWEEN PRODUCTION LABORERS, AND BARGAINING BETWEEN THE BUYERS AND SELLERS. APPROACHING THE URBAN MARKET, A CLEAR VISUAL OF THE ENTIRE MARKET IS FASCINATING, ESPECIALLY WHEN GENERAL PRODUCTION OF THE GOODS CAN BE CAPTURED IN PERSPECTIVES. THIS BOWL GEOMETRY ALSO ALLOWS THE WATER FROM THE TAMANDUATEI RIVER TO BE FURTHER FILTERED THROUGH THE STEPPED SURFACE, ADDING ANOTHER ELEMENT TO THIS VAST LANDSCAPE AS SEEN IN ISLAMIC GARDENS. MORE IMPORTANTLY, THE DESIGN OF THE MARKET IS CLEARLY A CONTINUATION OF THE CITY’S TEXTURIZATION, CELEBRATING ITS OWN REGIONAL CHARACTERISTICS AS FOUND ALL ACROSS BRAZILLIAN ARCHITECTURE. THE TWO PLANES ESTABLISHED ARE THEN INTEGRATED INTO ONE UNIFIED URBAN MARKET BY ITS SECTIONAL DESIGN. FROM THE LARGE OPENINGS UP ABOVE, LARGE ILLUMINATED VOLUMES ACCOMPANIED BY VERTICAL VEGETATION AND WATER FALLS FILLS THE VOID IN BETWEEN THE TWO PLANES. PUBLIC COURTYARDS, GARDENS, AND PLAY GROUNDS ARE LOCATED AT THE BOTTOM OF THE VOIDS. THESE CRAFTED VOLUMETRIC SPACES NOT ONLY BRING ANOTHER DIMENSION TO WHAT AN URBAN MARKET CAN BE, BUT ALSO SERVE AS THE MAIN CONNECTION BETWEEN THE TWO PLANES. THE DYNAMICS OF THE URBAN MARKET IS THEN ADDED TO THE MARKET STALL DESIGNS. REFLECTING ON THE ARTICULATED TEXTURE OF SAO PAULO, A MATRIX OF STRUCTURAL MODULES, CIRCULATION ARRANGEMENT, REST AREAS, AND MARKET MODULES WAS DEVELOPED. VENDORS OF DIFFERENT BUSINESSES CAN SELECT FROM THE VARIOUS OPTIONS, AND THEY ARE FREE TO PURCHASE MORE AS THEIR BUSINESS EXPANDS. AT THE CONCEPTUAL LEVEL, THE TEXTURE OF SAO PAULO IS ARTICULATED AND MANIFESTED IN THIS URBAN MARKET IN ALL DIFFERENT SCALES.

About Designer

Alan Tse was born in Hong Kong, China in 1980. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley in 2003. After joining Stanley Saitowitz / Natoma Architects Inc., he has participated in numerous award-winning projects such as 555 Fulton, Octavia Gateway Housing, First-United Methodist Church, Beth El Synagogue, and UCSF Parking Structure. After becoming a project designer in 2005, he has worked on a number of residential projects including the Cortez Residence, Walnut House, and currently leads the Lake House project in Kenwood, CA. Alan was key member in launching a series of retail and hospitality projects in the Bay Area which includes Conduit Restaurant, Toast Novato, Mizu Spa, Tan Bella Soma, Horizon Restaurant & Lounge, K. Saitowitz Medical Office, and the Mississippi Blues. He earned his M. Arch degree from University of California, Berkeley in 2009, is a recipient of the Departmental Scholarship, Eisner Prize in Architecture, and the AIA – Henry Adams Fund - Certificate of Merit award. His graduate research includes CAD/CAM technology, BIM technology, digital fabrication, contemporary architectural theories, landscape urbanism, construction law, with a focus in designing for urban settings. His design studio projects include a sanatorium design for Big Sur, CA, an urban food market in Sao Paulo, Brazil, a contemporary art museum for Fort Baker, CA, and mixed use public complex for SOMA – San Francisco, CA. He has also participated in the graduate student instructorship program in the Fall of 2008 with the Department of Architecture, and awarded with the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor award ‘09. He is a visiting design critic at UC Berkeley after acquiring his M.Arch degree, one of 13 finalists for the Open Satellite SuperModel exhibitors, and his M.Arch thesis project – Urban Seam has been selected to be published in the Surface Magazine – Thesis Avant Guardian of 2009.