Highway underpasses might not seem ideal places to have a garden but the Franco-Brazilian firm Triptyque Architecture has unveiled an ambitious plan to convert the long-neglected Minhocão viaduct undersection into a vibrant public space covered in suspended plants.
Working with landscape architect Guil Blanche, the architects plan to hang oxygen-heavy plants over three kilometers of the elevated section to filter 20 percent of CO2 emissions.
The Minhocão viaduct was built in 1971 when São Paulo was in a period of rapid growth. However, due to the ensuing noise and pollution caused by traffic, the elevated highway became more of a nuisance than a blessing to the community.
The highway underpass will be transformed into a welcoming urban space that reflects local identity
After asking members of said community for input, the architects designed a plan to transform the derelict area under the elevated section into a welcoming urban space that reflects local identity. The project will focus on creating an open public rendezvous spot that will not only be pleasant to the eye and enjoyable for visitors, but will also actively reduce the amount of carbon emissions in the area.
All of the greenery planned for the project has been chosen specifically for its air-cleaning qualities, and is expected to filter out some 20 percent of emissions produced by cars that pass through. To care for the ultra-green design, the architects plan to open the covered area as much as possible to allow for an optimal amount of natural light. Additionally, a natural water harvesting system will be used to water the plants. The vaporization of the water will also be used to clean the surface areas.
Once complete, the renovated area will be used for community events and cultural programs. Specifically, the new Marquise will have four designated blocks, marked off by pillars, that will house distinct programs: culture, food, services and shops.
The project will make the entire area more friendly to both plants and people and we only hope more cities will decide to revamp neglected places.