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By Saira Ansari, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Initiated as a cultural and residential project eight years ago, Vila do Largo adds to the many renovation projects taking place all over Rio. The space is located at Rua Gago Coutinho, on the corner of Largo do Machado, Laranjeiras, and faces the early nineteenth century Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Glória (Church of Our Lady of Glory) Cathedral and the bustling Largo do Machado square.

Outside perspective drawing, image by Vila do Largo.

Often the venue for small weekly markets and cultural fairs, the square is set in one of the oldest upper-middle class residential neighborhoods in Rio. It is also a crossroads for the neighborhoods of Catete and Flamengo, and is located a short distance from the Praia do Flamengo, Oi Futuro Flamengo cultural center and many other places of interest.

In the renovation, the architect Carlos Rangel has tried to maintain the original look of the old village residences of the Carioca working class, who used this design to be close to their work and to each other, using communal areas for eating and interacting. The proposed preservation was approved by various municipal bodies, including arts and cultural heritage organizations INEPAC and IPHAN.

The 1,865.89 m² complex, upon completion, will contain two commercial and 34 studio residence units and will house a theater, cinema and lecture rooms. Each multi-storied unit will contain a ground floor and first floor that are meant to be used for commercial purposes.

The top floor is meant for lodging with a bathroom incorporated. Kitchen space is on the ground floor, albeit tiny. The units sizes vary between 60m², 70m² and 90m², with the prices ranging between R$200,000, R$500,000 and R$700,000 respectively.

Vila do Largo, Laranjeiras, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, News
Church view from inside commercial space, photo by Saira Ansari.

The façade of the building is primarily made of glass and brick. Walking in through the main gates, a long, central, open alley pans until the end and is lined on both sides by multi-storied units.

The alley ends in a courtyard and the last unit looks back into the whole area. Stone from the original building is used at several places as a design element, to pay homage to the estate’s history and keep the essence of the renovated property.

The building has just the right vibe and architecture for future arts, crafts and music activities. Several of the units seemed to already have been taken up, and a gallery and two artist studios were discovered on site.

Julie, gallery owner and resident, has bought two units and is currently working with several artists on site. She says, “I bought the property about four years ago but moved here one and half years ago. I use one of the studios units with four others to work and it really is a great space for the arts.”

The property is beautifully designed and developed, set in an ideal location for commerce and culture, and is a real estate gem worthy of investment. To see the space, find Rua Gago Coutinho, 6 Casa 28 -Laranjeiras, Rio de Janeiro, RJ – CEP 22221-070, or find out more at their web site: www.viladolargo.org.br.

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