AA São Paulo Visiting School

2010 – 2014

2010 Daily Journal

AAVisiting School/Sao Paulo


Saturday23/day ten/The final day

The presentation of the projects are set for 4 this afternoon.   There is not much time left to put together the projects.  We have decided that it is best to hold the presentation on the site, amid the atmosphere of noisy vehicles and congestion of activities in the academy.  We hope this insertion in the context of the academy is a test to the ideas and the resolution of projects in the space.  Ultimately the comprehension of culture of place will define the success of the projects.

However there is much to do before then and some groups are still frantically resolving design issues to be able to present the project.  The prototyping lab has been running overtime through most of the night.  It is fortunate that the only neighbours to the studio where the CNC is running is a shop on one side and a Bar on the other.  We are actually matched for the sound level that we generate.  The bar also have a security valet which is very helpful for late night work.   We shut the studio at 3.30 last night and are back at it this morning at 8.  The last group get a chance to complete the prototype after one of the groups resolves to stop work.  They are frantically running the CNC turning out the various sheets to be assembled on site.  The final pieces are cut an loaded on the truck or cars and taken to the site for assembly.

Some of the groups have been on site for a couple days working with Cesar, and Valentine while others have been preparing prototypes on the patio and roof of the school.  All of the component s will have to be transported to the site in a truck which will be filled to overflowing with pieces of odd looking timber and mdf..  It is always a humorous contrasting picture of the students carrying the odd shapes pieces and models from the school through the crowds of shoppers with shopping bags looking for bargains.  The two groups are very different and there is no connection.

The presentation

We arrive on site,  the last group to assemble the prototype.  We have only one hour to finish putting together the unit.  It arrived partially together but the final pieces have not been tested.  Everyone is motivated and team come together to make it work.  The other installations are all ready and people are assembling for the presentation and we have to stop.  Only one cell is missing but the shape and concept is readable.  The presentation amid the noise of the venue is a struggle at times.  But the event has a special atmosphere.  As light fades across the installations and the character of the space becomes more and more festive, the projects are finally complete and the discussion concluded.

The last group decide to finish what they were unable to finish work to complete the structure before the boxing match begins.  It is not long before other group members are joining in to put the final pieces in place.

Boxing Match

The boxing match is an appropriate finish to the workshop.  This is what the venue was intended for, and this is the true context of what the proposals were to respond to.  It is the real test of whether it works, fits, or is responsive to a specific event in a meaningful way.  This exercise was not about the making of objects that stand as an icon to self referencing theoretical positions.  It is about a formal engagement with the site and the event that inspired the workshop.  The works has a robustness and design intent that extends beyond the workshop to a greater discourse and ultimately will be tested in awareness that some of the proposals may be adopted and continue to be generated on the site as part of the larger aspirations.

Finally the closing of the day and the workshop review.

It has been an incredible 10 days of intense work and drive.  The students I think agree that the level of work and the kind of systems that were demonstrated and adopted have been very beneficial and enlightening.  There is a touch of the AA school that has left an impression on the participants that they will carry to their own research and education.  Some may find a way to come to the AA formally and participate in the environment there, and some will infect there own design communities to look at these techniques for a future approach to Architecture.  I hope to see these student s still either here in Sao Paulo or in the UK, or where ever they go in the world to continue their studies.  They were the very best, and more than expected, they made the success of the event.

There is also a tremendous appreciation of the work of Franklin and Anne in directing this very successful school.  Their determination and drive is exemplar and appreciated by all and pulled the school together.  The coordination with Garrido and the academy under the viaduct are also to be commended for opening their space and sharing their experience to make a design proposal relevant and purposeful.  To everyone, well done and thank  you.

See you at the next one?

Friday 22/day eight /Production

Today we are just producing, many of the groups have dropped out of the CNC production or have elected to work on the Laser cutter.  The Laser cutter has been running overtime producing models and full scale details.

Groups which have been working with found objects or directly with material on site, have been there for the past two days working hard to produce the pieces in this workshop.  Occasionally a very tired and moderately dirty student stumbles back to the school to report on progress.  There is an astounding amount of energy and enthusiasm.


Thursday 22/day seven /Scale Fabrication/ 121 test

This is the first day of sorting out those annoying parts which just don’t want to come together.  Not matter how you prepare for the fabrication phase there is always one or two things which show you up.  It is what demonstrates that you are not as clever as you think you are.  A humbling experience that you do not understand the project and you have to repeat the process over to be able to get the final assembly strategy down pat… and then recomputed all the work you did earlier.

In addition, today was also one of those days when adversity  strikes.  Our single CNC machine that we depend upon to get all of  our projects fabricated, suddenly stops working.  There is a stunned silence in a room full of very long and tired faces standing in the studio holding the little pieces they have just cut wondering if this constitutes the extent of their ambitious projects.  Not quite what we thought we would have after 10 days.

Then again, this is just a machine, and it was just made by someone, and its not that complicated piece of kit, really….  Why cant we just try and reassemble the drill mount that seems to have fallen off.  And you know we talented people we can rewire the router cable that seems to have come undone for some strange reason.  (hopefully we get the wires in the right way)  Sure why not, it cant be that difficult.  Can it?  In Canada we call it McGiver after a rubbish TV program about a guy who builds escape vehicles from the foil out of the cigarette packet.  It’s a bit of innovation and initiative that is needed.

Half an hour later we are up and running.  We had to borrow a screw driver from the bar next door and repair the parasol in exchange.  Only fair really it was holding the thing together after all.  But all goes well and we can continue into the night.

Brazil is fantastic, and Sao Paulo is special.  Our cutting studio has been an interesting distraction for passers by on there way to the fashion shops curiously checking it out to know “what is going on” and “can I buy any of it?”, but nobody seems to be bothered about the noise of the cutting.  Out side it is a little noisy but the party bar next door more than compensates for the drone of the router.  The distinctive smell of the laser cutter that we ventilate outside is a curious mix of that sweet aroma of burned wood that mixes reasonably well with the other smells like roasting coffee.  Perfect. Who can complain about that.

Wednesday 21/ day six / Design and Production

The day is building on the work that we have made over the last few days.  People have worked hard to understand the software and explore the various methods and techniques to make the very ambitious projects that have been proposed realisable.

We are slowly getting closer
to our agenda of constructing a proposal at scale for installation on the site.  There are a number of projects that are ambitious and will have to compete for the use of the digital machines to be able to complete the project.  We have been prototyping in card and 3mm MDF to proove the proposals viability and to test and to test connections before moving to the core material.  Some of the tests have now moved to the robust plywood that will be our final presentation.


Tuesday 20/ day five / Design and Production

Today is  a big day,  we have sorted through the proposals and have grouped them to there common interest and strategy.  There are six groups looking at specific problems in the site under the viaduct.  They have been arranged and dispersed around the site where all have a contribution to the place and an urban awareness. The design process begins with the development of the design proposals into buildable material spaces which are designed to contibute to the success of the boxing academy.

This afternoon we will be working with the laser cutter to make our first proposals.  I hope they go well.

Groups have tried to discover sensitive and meaningful ways of engaging in the site and learning from the material expression of the people who live and work there.  They have collected and assembled found objects from the site, sought to use and reuse and reshape materials collected in the site.  Others have sought to use a formal strategy to build an intervention to engage with specific aspects of the academy.

There is much to do to achieve the ambitious projects

“Sou paulistana e por 03 anos trabalhei na zona leste em Sao Paulo, cruzando o viaduto Alcantara machado pelo menos 10 vezes por semana.

Fiquei muito envergonhada por conhecer o projeto do Garrido e entrar ali pela primeira vez conduzida por este workshop.

Que surpresa!!!! Um espaco de reciclagem humana.

Determinou-se entao minha motivacao projetual: Ciar uma conectividade visual e integracao entre o projeto Garrido e a comunidade”

Daniela Asdente – Arquiteta e designer