Category: Uncategorized

2018 Elections in Brazil

Today, Oct 5th, 2018, we are on the verge to elect our next President, State Governors and  Chamber Representatives.

This time a new Party came along, founded in December 2015, that caught my attention. I wanted to participate.

I went to a candidate`s committee and started voluntary work. Along the last few weeks I was transferred from a communications aide to the campaign treasurer. From 1 hour per day to 8 hours per day and very happy about it.

I was surrounded by energetic people, young and not-so-young, all with a glare in their eyes, certain that they were doing something bigger than themselves for the common good. I became part of a communitarian body of well intentioned volunteers as well as a few paid participants.

Political campaign laws have become very strict in Brazil, in response to the common situation where wealthy people were mostly the only ones capable of getting enough exposure to become elected officials.

What a wonderful change that when added to Social Media, allows anyone willing and with a good platform, to get elected.

I met a local municipal councilor elected in 2016, Janaina Lima (NOVO Party), a very active and serious young lady who is now helping a project I’ve been involved in since 2010: LOSOL, It`s funny how networking is so fundamental to human success in different endeavors.

Our goal is to promote citizenship, education and professional training for derelict communities around Sao Paulo city. This NGO is only now becoming official, starting with a couple of dozen contributing members, although we have been assisting several families for the last 8 years in an unofficial manner. Bureaucracy in Brazil costs a lot and to become official it is costly and there are several hurdles to be superseded.

We now have a local President and I`m the vice-president organizing the whole deal. Each person needs to participate to make our community a better place!

Back to our elections, Brazil has become a very divided country, mostly an artificial  construction of the previous executives and legislators. So, arguments are strong and emotions arise in a very raw shape, when ideas are put on the table for discussion. It seems that a rightist leader will be elected, carrying a message of rebuilding the country and reuniting it.

Lets hope that, in case he becomes elected, these good intentions come to term and we live again in a prosperous nation. Time will tell!




Since 2011 a group of landscapers (as a free translation would go here in Brazil for Landscape Architecture – Paisagismo), has started a move towards the legalization of the profession of Landscapers in Brazil. This effort is being commanded by our Associacao Nacional de Paisagismo.

A Bill was drafted and has been in transit at the House of Reps for the last 4-5 years. A couple of Representatives at the lower chamber have adopted this bill and are carrying it from office to office trying to get support for it within the house.

The Brazilian president has just vetoed a similar Bill for the legalization of the profession of Interior Decorators, a sign that unfavorable times are to come in our direction. Not to worry. We`ll keep fighting and hopefully she`ll be out of office before she can veto it.

Support to this initiative has come from many national and international bodies, ASLA, IFLA etc. We`ve got explicit support from the University of New Mexico (thanks Alf) and are hoping to get more from other important schools around the world.

Hopefully in the near future we`ll start promoting specific courses and exchange of professionals, teachers and knowledge will become more intense.

Last week an amendment was made to our proposal. Instead of proving that one has worked for over 2 years to be licensed, the demand has grown to 5 years minimum. Probably a wise move.

Lots of work ahead of us now!

Wish us luck and, if you`d like to contribute, send me a letter of support. We need them!

Observation in Battureland

In this diagram you’ll see, besides the observations, an attempt to represent their collection in a created symbology.

The observations sometimes came in a fast sequence and these are represented close together.
Sometimes a while passed between observations and I spaced them accordingly.

Also as time passed, light changed from lighter to darker until it got dark. So the shades try to depict this situation counterclockwise. Why counterclockwise?

If you are struggling to find information on Watershed issues, there is a very good source FREE at

You can find info for lay people and some real scientific data. Up to you!


Finalization and thougts

Our first assignment as designers of a landscape at LSU was oriented by project 1.001 to 1.002

We visited the site several times and were fed with lots of information from colleagues and our own observations. From the first vector walk the learning process started at the site. Before that we gathered a huge amount of information regarding history, general culture, local data and further pertinent information.

This was a great example of coordination of team work. Albeit superficial due to time constraints and our own personal limitations, it gave us enough tools to proceed with the design process. In my mind such an expression didn’t mean much before coming to school. Previous semester endeavors got us started into the heart and soul of a design. Questioning and researching, looking for clues and real connections between site and design. Representing these into parti diagrams (what are this things?), such a fundamental part of creation and a great reference to look back to.

Observe, observe and observe.

Practical information is abundant if interviewing local folks. From the city planning department architects, to the Master Planning architects (who, by the way, did a great job, mostly implemented on the site). Contact with workers at the site, such as Mike and Gerard, who ended up coming to our final review, was fundamental to help us bring our design down to reality.

In spite of limiting our design freedom, these surveyed constraints, in some ways helped create more daring solutions and “reviewable” designs.

Review is regarded pretty much as a very stressful time. I believe that it should be the opposite. It’s a great opportunity to open our thoughts to very experienced professionals that can give us good feedback, except for some less constructive personalities.

Group work brings flowing dynamics and interactions. The source of the first line up till the last shading for finalization comes from momentaneous inspiration that can appear anywhere, but mostly during the design effort, at the desk, from an abstract reference past or recent that perseveres in our minds.

I was very lucky to participate in groups of hardworking and delivering people. Constructive criticism was very to the point (is there such an expression in English?). These came from everyone, from the Professor to well meaning colleagues who were eager to share their thoughts and ideas for production.

Beautiful work came up in each group that was able to deliver. Our dreams had to be cut down, on the face of reality and time constraints. As inheritance we learn new techniques, promise not to leave printing to the last minute and imagine where else will this wonderful and privileged experience lead us to.

Third week into…

Third week into Studio. Site visits were productive and helped get a feel for the space and its surrounds. Studio people divided into groups to accomplish several tasks. Inventory phase. Hydrology, Topography, Base map, Vegetation, Traffic, Use, Infrastructure etc.

Starting to learn how to document a site, take notes, take photos and associate both. New interesting software to work on, especially Adobe suite. Powerful tools. Now, we need just a bit of imagination and good taste…

There is a batture area right next to the pentagon and visitor center.

It has been dug up probably for lending dirt to another site. Two depressions remain full of water where even fish can be caught according to witnesses. The water doesn’t drain completely, probably due to the clayish nature of the soil and its proximity to the river at a low level, where the river water feeds the ground water of these pools from underneath, preserving them full of water.

This area is also often flooded by the river, that renew the water and eventual fauna that lives in it.

A little further downstream, the margin of the river changes drastically. The batture we first visited harbored a reasonable amount of vegetation, from grassy to arboreous in a sector of the river margin where there is more depositing of debris by the river than erosion. Further down we come to an area where the river is trying to carve into its margin. If concrete walls were not installed along this stretch of the river margin the river would probably have been successful in “eating” through towards the park area, probably destroying both roads to its east side.

Supposedly this area should be integrated to the rest of the grounds, but it is strongly separated by two transportation ways: a two way paved road (River Road) and an active railway.

The visitor center to the east of the tracks, opposite the area, was built with lots of glass as its first floor walls. This was probably done with a mindset of taking advantage of the proximity to the river.

The goal of this study is to try to reduce this separation, creating some type of connection from the Capitol grounds to the batture area. This would be accomplished with some sort of passage, starting right next to the visitor center, crossing the road and railway, taking advantage of the level difference from the high grounds to the batture and motivating people to come, walk across and enjoy some type of structure to be installed as a park or similar equipment on the batture area.

During this visit I noticed that there is a small wall, approximately 90 cm high, separating the road from the public space. This separation is adequate for safety but adds to the separation between grounds and river.

Also the external floor pattern is made of bricks separated by a concrete lay. This pattern is about 7 yards long and the concrete is about 2 feet wide, creating a rhythm along the side of the visitor center building. This building has high ceilings and a generous “coating” of transparent glass, as mentioned before, showing the inside for those outside the building and vice-versa. An eventual structure should consider this format and develop from it.

Interviewing a couple of users of the building, they observed that the western wall is not completely glassed, providing a considerable blockage of the view towards the river.

I believe that this is true, but also, to gain a view towards the river the whole level of the first floor should be raised somewhat. Also, since there was little view and two unpleasant neighbors (roads), the architects probably wanted to partially block the view.

As a batture zone, the area to the west of the tracks often suffers with flooding, so any structure proposed for this site should consider either being submitted to this condition or placed in a higher level so that eventual water would pass under is.

An idea that occurs to me is to produce both, ground level and some elevated element(s) so that the area can be visited year round.

Along the hours spent there I noticed that very few people actually go there, except for a few souls and people that work there. This is true too for the weekends, so when thinking of a solution, one should be concerned with this factor. The biggest parking lot close to the Capitol grounds is across the road, an uninviting proposal.

Probably with the construction of a passage, a visitor would be able to park where the current parking lot lies and enjoy the park. If needed be the user could cross to the other side, without having to deal with the intense traffic of both roads.

Another issue that occurs to me is the treatment of the existing vegetation. I believe that some paths built within the batture should also provide for some openings for better views from the Capitol grounds. This view today is jeopardized and blocked by the existing vegetation if one wishes to see what is “cooking” on the river surface. These openings would build interesting paths to the viewer to explore them in several different ways, different angles, different heights, eventual tree tunnels, playing with the level difference that naturally occurs on the site.

Studio just sta…

Studio just starting. Pretty anxious about the work and if I’ll be able to cope.

Performance is a must and good ideas are hard to come. Work hard and keep it up!