Originally known as Largo da Sé (Field of the See), the square developed around the religious building which preceded the cathedral and surrounding edifices. At the beginning of the 20th century, older structures were demolished and the downtown area reconstructed according to the urban planning of the time. Its geography has remained mostly unchanged since.
The current landscape is the result of a 1970s project by architects led by José Eduardo de Assis Lefèvre. The opening of a nearby São Paulo Metro station required the leveling of an entire city block, requiring an entirely new landscaping infrastructure.
The architects were heavily influenced by contemporary landscaping works underway in the west coast of the US (such as those by Lawrence Halprin), characterized by rigorous geometry, through multiple levels with reflecting pools and prism-like land masses.
The renovation includes the relocation of flower boxes, the increase in the integration between existing sculptures and their surroundings and the introduction of pedestrian overpasses over the existing reflecting pools.