This square is placed in a rich urban context regarding the city’s network of public spaces. Its privileged location among important circulation axes makes it a very special place and further enhances its symbolic value. Not far from the square, there are important public leisure areas that already present the population with different options for activities. Right across the avenue, the waterfront along Beira Mar Avenue due to its scale and central location in the island, represents one of the main spaces for leisure and contemplation of the city, functioning as a long linear park and will soon host the City’s Marina along with new leisure infrastructure.
The project for this new square aims to create a place capable of becoming a reference for residents and visitors to our city, located on a hilly tropical Island. This potential new tourist destination reflects the natural characteristics and urban quality of the state capital but can still be a pleasant place for the daily life of its inhabitants. Understanding the privileged location of the square allowed us to work with special landscape elements with remarkable plasticity and that also refer to the site’s past.
This terrain site was originally part of the sea. During the 18th century, it is believed to have housed the powderhouse of the Fortress São Luís da Praia de Fora, located nearby and part of the Island’s military defense system built by the colonizers. Then, as the city grew bigger, it was driven from the seashore by several embankments and the site that no longer had use became a private property. Later, in the middle of the 20th century it became an open place for street fairs and meetings, but it soon became an emptied parking lot that longed to be occupied by people again.
One of the main goals of this project was to value its rich history in a non-literal way. In this sense, a sculptural element could give the space a new meaning and at the same time honor its past, and instead of creating exquisite volume off the ground, the proposed solution was to dig in.
As the main object, a sculptural path conducts the visitor through the square with water as a highlight. Its circular shape spiraling to the center in a gentle slope represents the Island surrounded by water and, with even more water in the center, its heart. The object deliberately digs into the ground, revealing the message of the past once stored there.
At dusk, the colorful sunset reflects on the pool as it reveals the subtle lighting made with optical fiber that emerges among the stone pavement that covers the floor. It alludes to a sky full of stars right in the heart of the square and in the path that leads to it, creating a playful atmosphere. Near the edge of the square, taller light poles complete the lighting scheme and enhance the sense of security and comfort of the public space. In the dry area, visitors can read traces of the history of the place in several totems informing visitors of its rich past.
In addition to the symbology brought to honor this special place, the square plays a crucial role of bringing different people together, the very soul of public places. As it is located in a residential area, many locals from diverse social backgrounds gather to enjoy being outside, in a qualified public space. It includes other playful elements such as moving water, a real joy for kids of all ages and movable armchairs to watch the beautiful sunset. In a similar way it does with its past history, water fountains emerge from the ground in several areas of the site revealing a water dance.
The former military land use is now a potent public place, in a new meaning that suits a contemporary city that creates spaces for people and values its natural elements. Many native adult trees were integrated into the perimeter of the square, creating a warm atmosphere in relation to the surrounding streets. Thus, visitors feel embraced in a welcoming place at the same time it creates a sunny center with water as a main feature. Along with the water, vegetation here acts as guides along the path directing visitors to the center, the heart of the square.
Location: Praça Forte São Luis – Av. Beira Mar Norte – Centro, Florianópolis – SC, 88025-201
Design year: 2014
Year Completed: 2023