Archiv Masterprojekte

Landschaftsarchitektur und Entwerfen

Sommer 2015

THE LOST RIVER OF TAMANDUATEÍ São Paulo - Hydrophilic* Design

Course description

With 21 million residents the São Paulo metropolitan region belongs to the 10 largest urban agglomerations on the planet. Its urban silhouette is famous for its sea of high rises stretching to the horizon. Its underlying landscape seems to be fully obliterated, transformed beyond recognition. It is hard to grasp that 200 years ago a quaint town of 20,000 sat on a small hill amidst a vast forested plateau crisscrossed by numerous rivers. The forest is now gone, but the rivers are still there, just in a very different state. Like in so many rapidly growing cities on the planet, their courses have been altered, their beds been paved, their waters been polluted. And, not unlike many other cities, which entered a phase of moderate growth and consolidation, São Paulo tries to recover its rivers. This is not easy, and our studio project aims to enter the full complexity of the task in one very particular situation.

The Tamanduateí River (the Tupi word, stands for “river of the ant eater”) is with 35km one of the smaller rivers of the plateau, but it served important transportation and recreational purposes up to the late 19th century. Today it is a narrow channel wedged between two highway lanes and dwarfed by a concrete flyover. Its riparian watershed has been completely built over by industry, commerce and low-income housing. In a 30 year process the city plans to restructure an urban area adjacent to the river and currently comprising of 200,000 residents to be more livable. There is a chance to remake the fabric of the Tamanduateí watershed close to Sao Paulo’s historical center.

The studio will engage the problem by studying several scales and issues at once: the water management of the greater São Paulo region, the Tamanduateí river including its watershed and the urban area targeted for restructuring. Inside the urban area students can choose to focus on one of around seven sites to test a more detailed design strategy. The goal is to develop a hydrophilic urbanism over a wide spectrum of issues such as the development of ecologically, socially and culturally engaging waterscapes in a hyper-urban condition characterized by floods, droughts and pollution. We are collaborating with the São Paulo Planning Department (SMDU), which will provide us with information and expert knowledge. In Hannover we will engage a water expert who will assist us on hydrological questions. Selected results of the studio will be shown in a public exhibition in Munich. The studio language will be English.


Up to 16 students will be accepted in the design studio, a basic knowledge in English is required. We are offering a field trip to São Paulo from May 23 to 29. The trip is voluntary, self-financed and not a prerequisite to pass the studio.

Betreuung: Prof. Christian Werthmann, Dipl.-Ing. Marcus Hanke, Dipl.-Ing. Heike Schäfer, Dipl.-Ing. Hinnerk Voermanek 
Beginn: 15. April 2015 9:00-13:00 Uhr, Raum A205, HH-Str. 8


* Hydrophilia
1.) A tendency of the blood and tissues to absorb fluid.
2.) The ability to combine with or attract water.
(The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary)