I was born in a city with no borders, no geographical limits nor visual barriers. Sao Paulo is an endless entanglement of avenues and viaducts with disordered constructions claiming for individual attention. Since I was little, not to understand the totality of the space where I lived in was a precept. With time, I began to gain awareness of my map that is as imprecise and unique as the city it tries to comprehend. This map with dissolved borders and cloudy areas develops itself daily like a great puzzle without a final goal. It is a mental reaction to the contact between my body and my city.

This day-to-day contact took on new density when this city became not only home but also an object of research. Studying architecture in a complex and unequal city leads us to understand the subject as a politically active response to both the problems and virtues of reality. Our biggest challenge is to discover a way in which it is possible to design for such an exhausted environment and make it absorb an effective change.

In his essay on the exhausted, Deleuze affirms that: “Of an event, in general terms, it’s enough to say that it is possible since it does not happen without intermingling with nothing and abolishing the real to which it lays claim. There is only possible existence. It is night, it is not night, it is raining, it is not raining.” [1] With that in mind, if one looks back to Sao Paulo with the same aspect, this chaotic immensity could only be propagated. Whereas, if one looks at the city without being tied in the limitations of reality, it is possible to find a way.

In my first year in architecture school, uneasy with this idea of utopia to solve real-world problems, I researched and wrote an essay about utopia in nineteenth and twentieth-century urbanism, to which there was a common prerequisite: the need for a neutral context. For example, our capital Brasília, which was set in a vast, plain, easy environment became one of the great utopian projects carried out in the world.

I realized that the modern theories of urbanism would not solve my discomfort. São Paulo is here. The city is the background to any propositional thinking. Despite that, I believe that breaking away from the limitations of reality and designing for a possible future is a healthy and lucid way of rethinking the existent and its possibilities. For instance, the FAUUSP building by Villanova Artigas is a utopian doorless milieu that lays as a temple in our city context. This project was only possible by daring to challenge the real.

I have learned to admire the imprecision of my city and to interpret them in a poetic approach. I see the movement of the big avenues as rivers that flow with different densities throughout the day. I imagine the abandoned building in the city center as a plain terrain for new architecture, and I face the self-constructed neighborhoods as a lesson of wisdom and simplicity. I decided to love Sao Paulo and imagine it as a fertile environment for concretizing new images, and by the possibility to see this different image, the city is not exhausted anymore.
[1] Deleuze, Gilles; Uhlmann, Anthony. “The Exhausted” SubStance, Vol. 24, No. 3, Issue 78 (1995), pp. 3-28, http://ghostprof.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Gilles-Deleuze-The-Exhausted.pdf Accessed 29 Dec. 2017.