AA São Paulo Visiting School

2010 – 2024


Garrido Boxing Academy, São Paulo

Garrido Boxing Academy, São Paulo


AA – NAi Design Workshop São Paulo 2010
Friday 16 to Saturday 24 July

The goal of the joint Architectural Association and Netherlands Institute of Architects (AA- NAi) Design Workshop in São Paulo is to explore the rehabilitation of otherwise obsolete, residual and overlooked urban environments, communities and physical materials, through critical urban analysis seminars, as well as through the use of innovative computational design and digital fabrication processes. With the impetus provided by the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, the organisers, sponsors and local micro-agencies seek ways in which sports culture can transform troubled urban environments. In response, so to encourage grassroots sports participation, this Workshop will design and produce prototypes for outdoor sports facilities under the viaducts in the impoverished and multi-ethnic Gliçério neighbourhood of São Paulo.

Specifically, the Workshop will collaborate with the Garrido Boxing Academy in São Paulo, which is an informal, free sports venue under the viaducts, founded by Nilson Garrido, a former boxing champion, in order to give poor local inhabitants new opportunities, discipline, and self esteem. Actually attracting a cross-section of social-economic groups, the Academy, which has an improvised boxing ring, old punching bags and donated, yet dilapidated gym equipment, and even donated library books and classroom chairs, has been a media sensation, featured in numerous documentaries and international exhibitions. Because of its successful social impact, the city of São Paulo has donated three more under-viaduct spaces for Garrido to create new centres, while the Secretary of Sports of São Paulo is seeking to improve the conditions of Garrido’s existing sport centres. The Design Workshop will intervene in these spaces by using digital fabrication techniques to produce strategic small installations like canopies, platforms, seating and wall systems, to complement the provision of new, more rugged, outdoor gym equipment.

The intense, studio-based workshop, which will be open to designers from all over the world, will include extensive digital parametric modelling design tutorials using Rhino Grasshopper and Rhino Scripting, computer-numerically controlled (CNC) fabrication, including rapid-prototype, laser cutting and CNC routing and milling. Evening seminars and a full-day Forum will include lectures and contributions from both Brazilian and international architects, designers, urban planners, street artists, photographers and other specialists. The ten-day design workshop will culminate in presentations of design proposals as well as 1:1 prototypes in events under the viaduct.