PRAÇA DO NATAL

Programme: New Icon for the city + Christmas Square Design
Client: Prefeitura do Natal, IAB - Rio Grande do Norte
Team: Eduardo Quintella Flôrencio, Ivvy Quintella, Laurent Troost
Location: Natal - Brazil
Scale: 10.500 m²
Status: Competition 2009 - First Prize
Execution Drawings Delivered - Completion due 2013
Selected XII Bienal Arquitectura Buenos Aires 2009
Selected VIII Bienal Arquitetura São Paulo 2009

‘Natal’ meaning ‘Christmas’ in Portuguese, the city wants to develop this specific characteristic as a tourism attraction feature. The purpose of this competition was to turn the existing temporary structure into a real icon and public central square for the city.

Rather than letting 33% of the existing square inaccessible with the setting up of the tallest Christmas tree of Brazil (current situation), this proposal aims to leave 100% of the square accessible during the whole year, while proposing a new structural icon for the city that will support the tallest Christmas tree in the world (125 > 160m).

The iconic support is curved in order to maximize the use of the public space in the middle of the square, while its skin is being dematerialized from the bottom to the top to minimize the impact of such a structure on the local scale.

Lifting up the base of the Christmas tree, the project creates a shaded circular area connecting all social and leisure functions of this new sustainable public space for the city of Natal: handicraft markets, restaurants, bar, fountains, info-point, benches, stage for events, Christmas crib… Moreover, the artificial landscape thought of as a structure for the circular shading and energy producing system (via PVs) is a reference to Natal’s typical landscape feature: the dunes.