Expresso Tiradentes: ArcelorMittal steel colours São Paulo

Steel is a constant and coloured presence in the Expresso Tiradentes, an elevated track for the Bus Rapid Transit in São Paulo, the most populated city in Brazil and the entire southern hemisphere . In bright colours, steel covers the terminals, envelops the elevated tracks, creates footbridges, and isolates areas. Part of the steel used in this construction was supplied by the  ArcelorMittal companies Perfilor and Belgo Cercas e Cia.

Detailed information

Expresso Tiradentes is an exclusive, elavated bus lane from the centre of São Paulo to Cidade Tiradentes (Tiradentes City) in the east of the city. It covers a length of 31.8 km and consists of two lines. The aim of the project designed by the architect Ruy Ohtake was to improve public transport in the highly populated and congested metropolitan city.

The work began in mid 1997 and suffered a number of delays relating to budgets and politics over the years.

The first phase, Line 1, was opened in 2007. It is 8.5 km long and connects the Mercado terminal, in the centre, with the Sacomã terminal, in the south. The completion of the Mercado-Sacomã section enables a connection to three metro lines.

According to official information, the buses run every three minutes and complete the entire route in no more than 20 minutes.

The design: The track and the stations

The elevated track crosses the urban space at an average height of 10 m. Therefore, its dominant presence in São Paulo needed to blend in well with the rest of the city in order to be in alignment with the urban space.

Thus, the design of this pathway was prepared with care, not only technical in the technical aspect, but mainly in the aesthetic one. Enveloped in colourful steel sheets, the curvy track winds like a long, light stroke of a brush trough the urban landscape.

For the city, its sinuous horizontality presents  a poetic route in the middle of the heterogeneity of the structures. For the passengers who see the horizon of the city, it provides a view of São Paulo over the rooftops of the buildings.

A transparent metal roof covers the Mercado terminal giving the space occupied by the passengers the feeling of a station without interrupting the view of the city. This construction with its expressive characteristics is a pleasant contrast to the market.

The Sacomã Terminal is different in its complexity. On the upper floor, in addition to the arrival and departure of vehicles on the elevated track, there is an intense flow of pedestrians. 52 bus lines coming from ABC arrive at the ground level of the terminal. The intermediate mezzanine has its own services.

ArcelorMittal steel

Perfilor supplied 320 tonnes of profiled steel sheets for the work in blue and white for two terminals (Mercado and Sacomã) and yellow for the footbridges and the elevated track.

The yellow fences used at the terminals and following the bus route were supplied by Belgo Cercas e Cia. The fence is made of metal panels 2.5 m wide with varied coatings and heights.

Revitalisation of the district

The efficiency of public transport, combined with the aesthetic expression of the entire elevated track, presented an opportunity for urban revitalisation offering a new design for these districts and offering the prospect of re-use of the most significant warehouse structures and other buildings. The existing road system in this region allowed a very interesting spatial reorganisation and fits in very well with the urban transport being introduced.

Project information

  • São Paulo
  • Brazil
  • Architect:
    Ruy Ohtake
    with Carlos Roberto Azevedo and Félix de Araújo
  • Project: 1998 to 2003
    Conclusion: February 2007
  • Client:
    Municipality of São Paulo
  • Contractor:
    Andrade Gutierrez S.A. and Queiroz Galvão S.A.
  • Photographer:
    Leonardo Finotti and Hiroto Yoshioka