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Escola da Cidade Students Create a Community Driven Gas Station of the Future

André Arena & Guilherme Trevizani from Escola da Cidade have won the people's choice award in the Gas Station of the Future Design Competition.

Can you tell us a little about yourselves?

Both of us, like any other architecture student, are horrified by the way that society keeps its vicious costumes that poison the sustainable future of humankind. We choose to fight, at first with ideas. Why our future has to be so close to our present? Why its so hurtful to people to change its habits? These are questions that keep us studying, searching for a real future with life quality to all. We think that our present needs are the key to understand the human connection with the landscape, and with this reconnection we are on a better path to a sustainable conscience for interventions on the urban environment.

What inspired you to enter the gas station of the future design competition?

As kids born and raised at the biggest city in the south hemisphere, we weren’t taught to play football at the streets, neither at our front porch. It’s a common mom’s say that “cars kill!” so we were taught that this outside fun had place at the public parks and plazas, that despite being few, are constantly attacked by the automobilist policy of our country, creating more lanes to drive or more parking lots. The cities landscape can’t be dictated by one excluding transport system as the automobile, all transportations need to be in consonance. There are countless abandoned gas stations in São Paulo, a territorial reminder of a failed modern society structure. Therefore, a proposal to rethink these spaces is necessary as an exercise of rethinking our motion as a society, an opportunity to promote sustainable habits and valuable social interaction, promoting breaks to the addictions of our social, economic and why not architectural structures.

How does your design respond to the coming revolutions in transportation?

We believe that the change from what fuels our cars it’s a sign that any industry can be completely gone in a couple years. As students illustrating a possible future, we try to promote these empty sad spaces as a place of life: life from the plants, from the colors chosen and from the water that feeds it all.  In that way, we try to reconnect people with this element that so long ago went missing from our sight living in São Paulo. Our rivers and brooks have been channeled to give space to major part of the avenues that make our city live, making water a magic element that only comes out a tap by a price paid to its provider. We propose that while you charge your car or do your groceries shopping you can interact with citizens that also uses this space, but for any purpose that clean water can provide. Thereunto, it’s proposed that all the stations coverings are filled with planters interconnected, which filters the rainwaters and gives back to the city the right to use it, instead of throwing all away. The water collected and treated it’s offered back to the city as playgrounds and water mirrors, and what’s left its used to feed the little plantation which goods can be sold to generate income too. We try to promote that a revolution in transportation can also be followed by a resources revolution: water is a human right, so it need to be accessible with quality for all.

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