Tranforming Landscapes, Changing Lives
Oscar Bressane heads Oscar Bressane Arquitetura e Paisagismo Ltda. in São Paulo, Brazil, molding severe landscapes into national treasures with designs that are as stunning as they are sound. Throughout his career, Bressane has garnered numerous awards recognizing the mastery of his work. He is a one-man show, handling all business functions himself.
Oscar Bressane looks out the window from his office in São Paulo, and you can see his eyes transforming the scenery beyond. He has a knack for creating beauty in places that have not yet realized their full potential.
Bressane graduated from the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at São Paulo’s Mackenzie University in 1979, which is well known for its Architecture and Urbanism programs. He had the good fortune to collaborate with and study under well-known Landscape Architects Fernando Chacel and Koiti Mori, and then went on the study Specialized Botanics for Landscape Architects at the University of São Paulo (USP). Bressane became part of the Roberto Burle Marx team from 1978-1983, collecting plants and examining the environment in the far reaches of Brazil, getting a feel for the land he would help to shape.
In 1980 he launched his career, and in 1996 strengthened his partnership with Koiti Mori; they collaborated on a project in Alphaville, Brazil, designing the center of the main boulevard that cut through town. Bressane built a name for himself almost immediately, with a plan that unified the space and brought aesthetic harmony. Then he took on a number of other projects in Alphaville for the Parks and Condominiums Department. In 2003, Bressane completed a set of 23 projects for the Center for Unified Education (CEU), which included 21 public schools ranging from 320,000 to 750,000 square feet. It was a project of massive proportions. And once Bressane had helped to beautify the space with public parks, he spurred the town to action as it moved to redevelop its slums along unpolluted waters.
Shaping Difficult Landscapes
Among his most significant projects, Bressane counts the Rodoanel "Mário Covas," and a large farm in Santo Antonio de Posse, São Paulo. The Rodoanel "Mário Covas," or the São Paulo Metropolitan Beltway, is one of the most important road projects in Brazil’s history. In total, this class A highway runs for 107 miles with eight lanes that connect all nine highways leaving São Paulo, the economic heart of Brazil. It reduces the truck traffic within the city by a whopping seventy percent.
For 15 minutes, drivers see the landscape as photo frames, allowing a kind of landscaping cinema.
Bressane transformed a 21-mile stretch that spans two bands of lateral fields 130 feet wide with a 65-foot center and contains a total of 35 million square feet. Since drivers average 62 miles an hour on this stretch, he made it an enjoyable vignette, with sections dedicated to the aesthetic contemplation of the road. "For 15 minutes, drivers see the landscape as photo frames, allowing a kind of landscaping cinema," explains Bressane. Since there is always movement on the part of the viewer, large vegetation groups run together like horizontal lines.
The severe slopes and shapes of the highway were a challenge. Since the topography was sharply geometric, Bressane planned the vegetation to reinforce its "plastic" characteristics, or shape and form, in order to highlight the changing slopes of the highway from the driver’s view. He also used vegetation to enhance certain areas and create spatial references. Bressane planted low-maintenance vines that will eventually overtake the grass, which was difficult to maintain. In the areas where forests or the possibility of forest regeneration existed, he recommended homogeneous forests for forest restoration. He selected them carefully, since they line the only place that can be planted—the edge of the slopes that were created from land cutting. The road is sloped on both sides for much of its length, so planting same species trees provides views of colored bands of flowers as the trees flower throughout the year.
Bressane planted large groups of shrubs to dominate the landscape, to help reduce the speed of vehicles, and to block the headlights from the opposite direction. He focused on a simple, easy-to-understand "language" because he feels "it encourages appreciation from the driver, reducing the tendency to sleep caused by monotonous landscapes and the risk of accidents." He relied on the Plant Place tool to space the large amount of vegetation. "The easy-to-use Vectorworks® Plant Place tool significantly reduced the time needed to complete the task, and the design is a real representation of the project," he explains. Each plant can be marked by text, and the Vectorworks Landmark application automatically keeps a list. So he avoided the arduous task of counting and checking symbols.
Bressane used Vectorworks Landmark software for all phases of the project. He created photomontages of the site using tree and shrub symbols from the library to make a very realistic presentation to lay people. The Vectorworks Landmark software helped make his plans as accurate as possible. Bressane explains, "During the executive project phase, the excellent graphic resources and easy editing tools helped immensely. Vegetation symbols had the exact same flower colors as the plants they represent. Thus, even in a small scale, we could correctly understand and visualize the entire project."
Vectorworks Landmark was extremely important in understanding and developing the project. During the preliminary study, the use of vegetation symbols in photos taken from the actual site was essential to secure the client approval.
Thinking and Working Differently
Currently, Bressane is tackling a 54-hectare Santo Antonio de Posse farm that is divided into three areas: a private park, a pasture, and a space for the commercial production of seedlings. He’s using the Vectorworks Landmark site model to delineate the land cuttings, each of which measures approximately 320,000 square feet. Bressane recommends the earth movement feature. "The earth movement calculation of Vectorworks Landmark was quite precise and this surprised me, since this was my first job of this type and I was really worried." He generated landfill volumes from the cuts in 3D.
Bressane has used Vectorworks since 1999. He says, "The ease of interaction with the software and the friendly platform make it easy for a lay person to use a new software application and eventually adopt it as its main tool during project development." In the 2010 version, Bressane highlights the editing tools, since the integrated dimensions make it easy to edit and use viewports and to generate 3D models. In addition, he touts Nemetschek North America’s relationship with its users, noting how discussion boards further the relationship and keep a dialogue going. "They make the user feel like he's not just buying and using the product, but also playing an important role in the global community of Vectorworks users."
The Vectorworks way of things makes you think differently about your drawings. This isn't digital geometric drawing coming from boards where you used rulers and compasses. There are colorful geometric shapes with extremely precise measurements that can be easily used. I feel that instead of having to work for the computer to perform a design, the computer now works for me in order to realize my ideas.
In 1990, Bressane received an award for his work on the project "Paisagismo do Parque Guaraciaba em Santo André, São Paulo" from the city of Santo Andre, São Paulo. And in 1998, he took first place in a national gardening competition’s Landscape Architecture category for the Casa e Jardins (Home and Garden) magazine, one of the most important magazines in garden designs. His award-winning landscapes continue to win over all who see them.
For more information, visit www.oscarbressane.com.