Praça Do Natal by ZerOgroup and Unique

Belgian architect Laurent Troost of zerOgroup in collaboration with Brazilian architects Unique have won a competition to redesign Praça Do Natal (Christmas Square) in Natal, Brazil.


The winning proposal involves creating a giant, permanent mast, which will be used to support Christmas lights during the festive period.


During the rest of the year, the square can be used for normal activities.


Underneath the base of the tree, the shaded area created will connect events, restaurants, information points and other facilities housed within the square.


Here's further information from zerOgroup:


zerOgroup/Unique wins PRAÇA DO NATAL Competition in Brazil

In March 2009, the Prefecture of Natal launched a National Competition for the Design of a new Icon and a Christmas Square in Natal (Brazil). Natal meaning Christmas in Portuguese, the city wants to develop this specific characteristic as a tourism attraction feature. Submissions were due end of May 2009, and the competition has been organized with the support of the Brazilian Institute of Architects Rio Grande do Norte Department (IAB-RN).

The composition of the jury was the following: Bruno Celso de Araújo Ferraz, Fernando Castelo Serapião, Gilson José Paranhos de Paula e Silva, Bruno Celso Araújo Ferraz, Paulo Roberto Cavalcante Macedo, Isabel Cristina Costa de Medeiros, Márcia Maria Duarte and Walderez de Barros Garcia. The official ceremony will take place in Natal on June 9th, 2009.

zerOgroup/Unique won the First Prize and the contract for the construction. Completion is expected end of 2009. The second prize went to Mário Figueroa and the third prize to Fernanda Cláudia Lacerda Rocha. 3 honorable mentions have been given to: Glênio Leilson Ferreira Lima, Paulo de Siqueira Campos Junior and Bruno Melo Braga.

zerOgroup is international and multi-disciplinary structure dealing with culture, architecture and urbanism. zerOgroup has recently been awarded in several international competitions. One of its founding members is the Belgian architect Laurent Troost, who has been collaborating several years with Rem Koolhaas-O.M.A.

zerOgroup works on this project in collaboration with Unique, a brazilian architecture practice based in Manaus.


Rather than letting 33% of the existing square inaccessible with the setting up of the tallest Christmas tree of Brazil (current situation), this proposal aims to leave 100% of the square accessible during the whole year, while proposing a new structural icon for the city that will support the tallest Christmas tree in the world (125 < 160m).

The iconic support is curved in order to maximize the use of the public space in the middle of the square, while its skin is being dematerialized from the bottom to the top to minimize the impact of such a monument on the direct surroundings.

Lifting up the base of the Christmas tree, the project creates a shaded circular area connecting all social and leisure functions of this new sustainable public space for the city of Natal: handicraft markets, restaurants, bar, fountains, info-point, benches, stage for events, Christmas crib Moreover, the artificial landscape thought of as a structure for the circular shading and energy producing system (via PVs) is a reference to Natal’s typical landscape feature: the dunes.

Competition Team: Laurent Troost, Eduardo Flôrencio Quintella, Ivvy Quintella