Araras Cultural Centre designed by Brazil-based AUM arquitetos, is a winning project in the national competition in 2004, the goal of the project was to restore an old railway station and transform to a cultural center.
+ Project description courtesy of AUM arquitetos
The growth of the center east of São Paulo was supported with the expansion of the railway system. The Araras station began to operate in 1877, as the end of the line of the section of the Companhia Paulista that started in Cordeirópolis. The fast expansion of the railway line assured more importance to the Araras Station. The original construction, a wood warehouse, was replaced with brick edification in 1882.
The building went through innumerous interventions during the first decades of the XX century. The warehouses were built in 1887 and 1924. The station was used for passenger transportation until 1977 and the trains that were used for cargo handling discontinue their operations in the end of the 1980 decade. Slowly the rails were removed and the edifications abandoned. Besides the natural deterioration the area was damaged by vandalism and ransack. The massive process of abandon was also erasing part of the railway history and also the history of Araras.
In the 2003 year, as per ACAAR (Associação de Culura e Artes de Araras) initiative, the Institute of Architects from Brasil (IAB) jointly with the Bienal Foundation of São Paulo organized a national contest. This contest was made in order to qualify once again the old Railway Station of Araras with the purpose of transforming it into a Cultural centre.
Once winning the contest, our team was hired to develop the executive project and 6 years later we have part of the project already built. Through this initiative of ACAAR we were able to contribute for the rescue of part of the Araras population memory.
The intervention in the area pre-existed had the goal of rescue and worship the historical characteristics of each construction, through the restoration of its constructive elements and the insertion of new attributes related to the change of the exercise. The new items that were incorporated to the patrimony are characteristics of actuality. Therefore we reinforce the distinction between the intervention and the originality of the area.
Regarding the function, the architectonical side was regulated in the distribution of the need’s program throughout the original constructions, in the creation of a new edification in order to complement the space needed and the expansion, using a new structure, of the sheltered area of the old gare.
Since 1882 the old headquarter of the station suffered various alterations. The proposed project seeks to highlight those most significant characteristics that last throughout the time. The internal compartments are new and are willing to attend the actual use of the building: administration of the cultural centre. The entire casement is also new and count with contemporary characteristics, without any frill.
The old warehouses that in the past were used as deposit for materials and commodity for the rail now are hosting culture. The newest, built in 1920 decade, has a nice high ceiling of 15,7 feet, and became the exhibition centre. Adjoining to this, the primal warehouse, that had a high basement, was the more fortunate to host the auditorium. Therefore, the presentation room can fit up to 175 spectators. The central portion of the warehouse was reserved for the sanitary installation and for the kitchen that offers support to the snack bar in the foyer area.
The isolated block that formerly served as residence of the Station Chief had all its features reconstructed and today hosts the support area for the employees of the Cultural Centre.
The platform of the station act as the integrator element of the edification set. The cover of it was extended throughout the construction of a concrete marquee that acts like a new structure of connection; a new element that emphasizes the reminiscent edifications, configure new common areas and establish relations with inside and outside spaces. The marquee extends itself into the central portion of the scenery in a way to create a shelter for the common area
The linearity of the complex was reinforced throughout the suggestion of the new edifications, constructions that make allusion to the old use of the space. A reflecting pool with 803 feet long makes reference to the old rails, act like a emphasize factor to the edifications and also contribute for the environmental comfort of the set.
Laid over the reflecting pool, in the center of the space, the new block designated to the ateliers and to the library remit to big wagon. Projected with a structure made of corten steel, proposes to dematerialize this same volume transforming its facades into translucent elements, changing the perception way of the volume into a “skin” idea.
Unfortunately besides all the dedication and efforts the project was not built integrally.
+ Project credits / data
André Dias Dantas, Bruno Bonesso Vitorino e Renato Dalla Marta + André Maia Luque and Fernando Botton (authors). Aline Pek, Ana Maria Montag, Maíra Baltrusch, Bruno Conde and Tiago Macedo melo (colaborators)
Project: Araras Cultural Centre
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
Pictures: Nelson Kon