Praça Doutor João Mendes e Largo Sete de Setembro (Area 3)

São Paulo, Brazil

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Team members: Architects and urban planner - Lucas Coelho Netto.

The proposal aims to improve user experience through road interventions, landscaping, and urban infrastructure, as well as enhancing local knowledge via educational programmes. The area is served by several means of transportation such as trams, buses, and cars, which has proven detrimental to pedestrians and bicyclists. It is necessary to reverse this situation by reducing the number of roads and pedestrian crossings, encouraging active mobility, and reinforcing this through specific landscaping. It aims to value healthy mobility, spaces of exchange, and permanence.

Two squares, whose geometry is governed by treetops, stand out like clearings among dense vegetation. Greenery creates an environment with less noise and air pollution, where historical structures stand out and activities are concentrated - complimented by urban furniture without compromising its functionality. Other project objectives include reducing the carbon footprint, providing a healthier lifestyle for residents and tourists, preserving memory, and emphasising the importance of public spaces as social and civil infrastructure. It is necessary to give the city back to its people and encourage the use of public space, ensuring safety, comfort, and practicality.

Key Components and solutions

  • Promotion of biodiversity includes high and dense vegetation in Praças, an urban community garden in Praça Dr. João Mendes, a bird garden in Canteiro Central as well as the planting of over 80 trees and the relocation of 8 trees.

  • Provision of strategically placed facilities such as fountains and benches to create resting spaces adjacent to trees; to provide shading for those with mobility impairments, the elderly, and children.

  • Promotion of pedestrian safety via widening pavements and reduction of crossing distance (from 301m to 169m).

  • Integration of bioswales in Canteiros Centrais to collect rainwater and promote collective activities such as community gardens, 2,496 m2 of permeable area and 4,434m2 reduction of asphalt.

  • Reduction of space for vehicles to promote active mobility via LED lighting and incorporation of 15 solar-powered public charging totems. 

  • Promotion of green transport via the provision of bicycle parking facilities located in 3no. points, the adaptation of an existing bicycle lane and 3no. exclusive bus lanes. 

Presentation of the site

Area 3 - Doutor João Mendes Square and Sete de Setembro Square is located in São Paulo's city centre. The public open spaces of the Doutor João Mendes Square are fragmented by the various road axes that connect the Historic Centre of São Paulo to the South and East Zones of the city, configuring residual areas of the road system, except for the continuous space formed by the Sete de Setembro Square and the esplanade located between the axes of Liberdade Avenue and Conselheiro Furtado Street. The esplanade was excluded from the intervention perimeter due to the intention of preserving its design, which presents important urban value. The Sete de Setembro Square, in the southern portion of the region, has substantial vegetation but no spaces of permanence. 

Several of São Paulo's most famous  buildings, including the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Palace of Justice, the São Gonçalo Church, and the Dr. João Mendes Jr forum, are concentrated in the region around the intervention area. Also worth mentioning are the shops specialising in second-hand books, natural products (at  Sé Square) and essences (at Anita Garibaldi Street and Tabatinguera Street). The plaza's perimeter is sandwiched between the Historic Centre and the Liberdade neighbourhood, two areas with dense pedestrian traffic who only use the square as a passing point. Therefore, the intervention concept intends to preserve and increase the value of the nearby heritage buildings while rescuing and optimising the public areas for usage as permanent pedestrian spaces.

Second place

Team: EKYA Projetos Ltda
Team members: Emilio Yasunaga, Luciano Torres Tricárico (Consultor Técnico)

Third place

Team members: Fabio Rago Valentim, Fernanda Barbara, Tamar Firer, Rodrigo Carvalho Pereira, Giulia Boraso Giagio, Camila Martins, Victória Liz Cohen and Igor Helian Fernandes Serrano.



TOTAL Area 3 = 25.369,14 m² 

Expected Land Use

Area 3's main objective is the restoration of public space through the development of green spaces that promote walkability and pedestrian well-being.

Site Ownership

The delimited areas are owned by the Municipality of São Paulo and will remain public. 
Praça Doutor João Mendes / Largo Sete de Setembro
Sao Paulo Brazil