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Retrofit Sao Paulo


The scarcity of space and the need to live in places with easy access to work has led to an increase in the number of 'retrofitted' buildings in large urban centers.

In addition to being an alternative to the lack of well-located land available in cities, retrofitting is one of the ways to contribute to the revitalization of degraded areas that suffer from the effects of time, as is the case in the center of São Paulo.
Adriana Marques, Project Coordinator, highlights that corporations, in turn, are not left behind: ''energy efficiency modernizations can reduce operational costs, especially in older buildings, as well as help attract tenants and gain an advantage in a real estate market as competitive as that of large capitals'', he says.

Sustainable alternative
The conversion of obsolete and underused commercial buildings into residential ones, as we have frequently seen, is also an alternative that combines sustainability, since the infrastructure and maximum materials are reused.

The beauty of retrofitting lies precisely in preserving the essence of the building and making it much more functional and efficient, both in relation to the use of materials, resources and technologies. Not to mention the reduction of carbon emissions related to the demolition and construction of a new structure and foundation, in particular, the large amount emitted by the cement and steel used in construction: ''increasing the useful life of buildings is a great solution for the targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and assisting with climate commitments'', comments Adriana.

Old buildings have also sought operation and maintenance sustainability certification processes to guide the necessary adjustments, reduce their environmental impacts and operating costs, in addition to showing the market this positioning of the enterprise and making it more competitive in relation to new buildings. often in its surroundings.

Culture preservation
From a cultural point of view, the retrofit technique helps to preserve the historical and architectural heritage of cities, as the idea is to maintain the architectural style of buildings, many of which were built many decades ago, and which carry years of history, especially in large cities, where modern buildings coexist with temples, palaces, museums and forts from centuries ago. These constructions reveal much of what our society was and is.

Harmony between past and present
Inclusion of elevators, modernization of the air conditioning system, renovation of facades and development of common and leisure areas such as coworking, gym and laundry are some points considered in a retrofit.

Especially when talking about converting a commercial building into a residential one, structural changes are often necessary, but the objective of the technique is to keep interferences, especially aesthetic ones, to the minimum possible.

It is important to consider that we spend an average of 90% of our lives indoors, according to the “National Human Activity Pattern Survey”, carried out by Berkeley Lab Energy, an American institution that researches and develops energy technologies and the reduction of environmental impacts.

Therefore, the responsibility of developers, investors, design and construction teams to create or adapt internal environments into healthy environments and thus promote the well-being of users is fundamental, even more so with the experience we have acquired after the COVID-19 pandemic in relation to to well-ventilated environments that promote well-being and decompression.

Studies and laws related to the quality of the internal environment, for example, have improved over the years and, sometimes, the legislation at the time of construction of these buildings did not require items in these aspects, which can cause a lot of discomfort in users, creating the syndrome of the sick building and contribute to the vacancy of the project.

Centro Requalifica Program
Much of this growing retrofit movement in the city of São Paulo in recent years was driven by the Requalifica Centro Program (17.577/21), created in 2021 and which establishes tax and building incentives to encourage the retrofit of old buildings in the central region of the city.
According to the capital's city hall, the objective is to stimulate a greater supply of housing properties to densify the center and restore its vocation as an attractive environment for investment.

Check out some retrofit projects:

Basilio 177 - Metro Arquitetos
The former Companhia Telefônica Brasileira (CTB) and Telesp (Telecommunications of São Paulo) building reopened this year after more than a decade of closure, this time as an apartment condominium with an open gallery of shops and restaurants.
The art deco style development, opened in 1939, has been listed since 1992 and was the second in the city of São Paulo to receive the permit to carry out a retrofit within the rules of the Requalifica Centro program law.

Canto Rio and Canto Mar - AO-SP and Triptyque Architecture
In the city of Rio de Janeiro, what was an abandoned concrete skeleton, designed to be a casino, was transformed into the new Canto Rio and Canto Mar, to be delivered at the end of 2024, which preferred to take advantage of what was already on the ground to create an imposing residential complex with two towers, one with sea views, large overlapping balconies, generous internal areas and four suites, and the other facing the urban area, with studios aimed at young people.

Guilhermina Building - Jacobsen Arquitetura
The old Saint Patricks school, one of the strongest architectural memories of the 20th decade in the Leblon neighborhood, in the city of Rio, was transformed into a commercial enterprise: the Guilhermina Building.

Marajó Building - Readymake
The Marajó building represents the splendor of a bygone era in the center of São Paulo. Built in the late 40s, it prefigures the verticalization of the effervescent neighborhood. In addition to the renovation of the 21 apartments, the project included the renovation of the terraces that provide a quality view of the Barra Funda and Higienópolis neighborhoods.

Virginia Building - Somauma and Metrópole Arq
In 2020, Somauma saw its potential and began the dream of regenerating the building, transforming it into a unique place, in which people would love to live again. After a year and a half of creative and artistic activations, the retrofit project envisages the creation of a vibrant and sustainable environment. A space full of life and culture that firmly looks to the future while respecting its history.

The project aims to preserve the facade and specific points of Virginia's memory.

Edifício Magdalena Laura - Vapor arquitetura
O Edifício Magdalena Laura, no bairro da República, em São Paulo, foi construído em 1957 para uso comercial e convertido em residencial no ano passado. Para resolução das unidades, foram concebidas 17 tipologias diferentes de apartamentos de 40 a 135 m2.

Complexo Cidade Matarazzo
Não se pode falar em retrofit recente sem mencionar o Complexo Cidade Matarazzo. O projeto surge a partir do restauro de um complexo centenário com 10 edifícios tombados em um terreno de 30.000 m2, localizado aos pés da Avenida Paulista, cartão postal de São Paulo.
O local onde funcionou o hospital popularmente conhecido como Matarazzo – e a Maternidade Condessa Filomena Matarazzo, erguidos em 1904 e 1943, respectivamente, abriga agora o hotel ROSEWOOD SÃO PAULO, além de um centro cultural de primeiro mundo, uma fashion megastore com mais de 70 marcas exclusivas no Brasil e 34 pontos de gastronomia.

Para ajudá-lo a contar essa história, Alexandre Allard reuniu alguns dos maiores talentos mundiais da arquitetura, arte e design: Jean Nouvel, Philippe Starck, Rudy Ricciotti, Rhada Arora, Ateliers de France, Irmãos Campana, Adriana Levisky, Adam Kurdahl, Louis Benech, Malherbe, Triptyque.

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