Director of atelier Urban Design – SiCWB 2017 Curitiba Brazil



Universidade Positivo in Curitiba (Brazil) invited me over to participate in the sixth edition of the Curitiba International Seminar  in October 2017 as international and urban design representative of Saxion University. I acted as ‘Director of Atelié’ in one of the three international ateliers (Holanda, Portugal, Spain), conducting professors and a group of 29 students. 

Opening ceremony of the congres at 5 October 2017.

The seminar focusses on the evaluation of the current urban landscape of the center of Curitiba and possible interventions for redevelopment. The current situation of the traditional centers of Brazilian cities expresses results of actions of the various agents that worked in those spaces, being of a technical, political, economic, cultural and social nature. In the 1970s, urban expansion was responsible for territorial transformations that altered its original characteristics, promoting depopulation andleaving the city centers diluted in physical and functional sense, which no longer met the needs of a rapidly growing population.

In Curitiba, this process was intermediated by the 1965 Preliminary Urban Planning Plan of Companhia SERETE, together with the architect Jorge Wilheim, who promoted the dispersion of the central region into two large linear axes, effectively implemented in the 1970s. The initial results of this action provided the city with an internationally recognized transportation system, but the overall effects of the process still await evaluation.

Under such perspective the SICWB 2007, the first International Seminar of Curitiba | Urban Design Workshops, promoted by the architecture and urbanism course of UP, proposed to evaluate the urban landscape conditions of the central region of Curitiba, presenting proposals for the requalification of the place. It was then based on the legal documents and intervention projects of the Institute of Research and Urban Planning of Curitiba, in addition to surveys and previous research of the teachers of the course. After ten years, SICWB 2017, in its sixth edition, proposes to reassess the central region, at a time when the City Council has just approved its new Master Plan which is in the process of approving the new Land Use and Occupancy Law.

Model of the project area.


In order to deepen the debates and direct the interventions of this Sixth International Seminar in Curitiba, the proposed themes rediscover the idea of urban requalification of the previous event, as a final objective, but they express the need to study transversally other issues that contribute to the understanding of the problem, such as that of housing in the central region of large cities and that of urban mobility, understood in a comprehensive perspective.

With this, the range of studies is expanded and the seminar is opened for various contributions, from Brazil and abroad, which can serve as inspiration and reference for interventions to be made in Curitiba.

Source : (translated)

Approach in Atelié Holanda

The students started with the demarcation of the project area, defining what part of Curitiba’s center is perceived as such and finding out where the network of public spaces is interrupted. By making reduction drawings (morphologic, with a strict use of only solid black and white coding) the students were forced to analyse spatial characteristics, rather than focus on programmatic choices and the pile of urban data that was available to them.

This analysis lead to interesting insights and conclusions that acted as a concept and strategy for the rehabilitation and improvement of the city center: ‘SPACES to MOVE, PLACES to STAY, REASONS to INHABIT’.

Motto for the proposal of Atelié Holanda

Students getting feedback on their analysis

Series of reduction drawings and design proposals for the networked public space of Curitiba.

In this proposal the connections between the large number of squares that are spread out in the center are re-established by making logic and attractive transitions between public, semi-public, collective and private spaces. Historical analysis was performed to find out whether the narratives of de old rivers and creeks and tram lines that used to be there could be re-introduced in the city.

Presentation of the project

Model of the proposal and historical analysis.

Public wandering through the model during the presentation.

The group of students and professors.