Location: Curitiba, Brazil
Architect: Domingos Bongestabs
Year of construction: 1991
Typology: Educational, bioconstruction, landscaping, urban recycling
Address: Rua Victor Benato, 210, Pilarzinho
This is a very very special place, a perfect composition of how humans can design in harmony with, and in celebration of, nature. Located in the centre of Curitiba, on experiencing a visit to this paradise you understand why the city is rightly called by many “the most sustainable city on Earth”.
Set amongst 37,000m2 of wild and lush native hilly Brazilian forest called Zaninelli woods, an abandoned quarry has been turned into a lush oasis to house UNILIVRE, Brazils first open environmental university. A lesson in urban recycling, the old quarry hole is now a beautiful lake which abounds with wildlife; ducks, turtles, swans, fish, butterflies, dragonflies… The actual school is a lesson in creativity and playfulness; a series of bioconstructed buildings are set on a steep hill within a circular ring of tall Eucalyptus posts, around which spirals a wooden ramp, bringing the adventurer from the lake, around the school up to a viewing platform 22 metres above. While ascending one feels a giddyness and joy like that perhaps of the “Swiss family Robinson”.
The building was officially opened by Jacque Cousteau on the 5th of June 1992, international day for the environment. UNILIVRE is: …an NGO (Non Governmental Organisation) pioneering the inclusion of various sections of society in the discussion about the environment. A place of multi and interdisciplinary knowledge about the environment and urban sustainbility, UNILIVRE offers projects and programmes to many sectors; schools, business, public bodies, trade unions and other 3rd sector bodies. It organises courses, seminaries, conferences and exhibitions; It develops and executes projects and activities in the area of education. It offers consultary services for private initiaves and government bodies.
Interview with the architect Domingos Bongestabs, in Portugese :