By Sarah Brown, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Reports on building issues during the World Cup and speculation of delayed preparation for the 2016 Olympics has made infrastructure a focal topic in current Brazilian news. With such high-profile events and an increasingly insistent public demand for better urban infrastructure, studying architecture in Rio de Janeiro is drawing appeal like never before.
In regards to this increasing interest in Rio’s infrastructure, Anne Saue de Beaurecueil, Program Director at the Architectural Association Visiting School Rio de Janeiro explains “there is a concern for the legacy for the structures and infrastructure after the large sports events. There is a great opportunity to include the public programs like open spaces, educational and health facilities within the infrastructure that is needed for the large international sports event.”
It is this that inspired the association to create a ten day intensive workshop that explored new types of public infrastructure and programs for the unused space around the Maracanã Stadium as well as ways to extend the use of infrastructure that served large volumes of tourists for every day use using concepts such as reversible infrastructure and cross programing.
The project included ways of using small public spaces for cultural and educational activities. “Students learned new technologies…to automate the process in designing and prototyping multiple options for future interventions”, said Saue de Beaurecueil.
In Rio, PUC and UFRJ offer courses with a focus in urbanization as well as architecture. Both courses highlight the increasing challenges in urban spaces today, such as over-population, traffic congestion, few green areas and consequently a lower quality of life, and emphasize the growing importance of architects to find solutions to these.
Wanda Vilhena Freire, the coordinator of the Architecture and Urbanism degree at the UFRJ (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro) describes the university’s course in architecture gives a strong foundation in the field, allowing students to develop specialization through continued studies.
“UFRJ is one of the best universities in the country, not only for graduation, but also for research developed in post graduation”, Freire enthuses. “The course of Architecture and Urbanism has two programs of post graduation well conceptualized in the country that receives a great number of students from graduation in their research.”
Studying architecture in Rio is available to foreigners and exchange students, as well as Brazilian citizens as projects such as the Architectural Association Visiting School Rio de Janeiro demonstrates. Kipp Edick, an American citizen studied at Yale School of Architecture and made his final advanced studio in year three in Rio near the Santos Dumont and Burle Marx park.
On what makes Rio so interesting architectural, Edick said, “From the academic angle, Rio is especially intriguing because of the native legacies of Oscar Niemeyer, Lucio Costa and Burle Marx, as well as foreign influences by Le Corbusier.”
A successful career in architecture can be dependent on the health of the economy and construction projects within a country, according to magazine Abril. Despite the recent GDP growth cut in Brazil, big sporting events such as the upcoming Olympics means Brazil has more architectural opportunities than ever.