The winning project Edificio União (Union Building) is a high-rise in the center of the city, formerly occupied by squatters, which has been successfully converted into residences for forty-two families, including a communal space. Working with a variety of partners, students from São Paulo’s Faculty of Architecture initiated a project to ‘de-densify’ the building. Over 30 of the 73 families squeezed into the building were re-housed. Together with the remaining residents, the site was cleaned, new kitchens and bathrooms were fitted, a collective power grid installed, and the exterior of the building improved. In the center of São Paulo, an area of the city best provided with infrastructure, the project allows its residents to remain near jobs, schools, and social amenities. The project serves as an outstanding example of what community empowerment can do for people who want to live closer to their workplaces in the city center. The project is a successful alternative to social
housing practice models in São Paulo, and it also differs from the other gated communities by blurring the traditional boundaries between private and public. Edificio União received the award prize money of 100,000 USD.