Few people would argue that a highway underpass represents an ideal, engaged urban public space. But Triptyque Architecture might change that with their 16-year plan to transform the neglected underside of a viaduct in São Paulo, Brazil, into a lively garden of hanging plants, complete with bike and pedestrian paths, dedicated areas for cultural programs, and restaurants and shops.
Triptyque and landscape architect Guil Blanche intend to suspend air-cleaning plants beneath the nearly two-mile long Minhocão viaduct. The vegetation would filter 20 percent of the CO2 emissions produced by passing cars, while a rainwater-harvesting system would both water the plants and clean surfaces.
The design also maximizes the amount of natural light reaching below the highway, making the entire area more friendly to both plants and people. Triptych has already started working with local residents to help shape the future uses of the space.