By Kate Rintoul, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL — “Canteiro” presents the plans and the stunning architectural model of an arts pavilion that Architecture and Urbanism students at Rio’s Pontifical Catholic University (PUC-Rio) designed for a two day exhibition at Rio’s prestigious Museu de Arte Moderna (MAM). The pavilion was never constructed at MAM, but now the work of the PUC students is featured at Studio-X in Praça Tiradentes in Centro and runs through to August 30th.

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Though unrealized, important questions and ideas are raised by the student designed art pavilion at MAM, photo by Studio-X.

Displaying awareness for current architectural concerns and impressive problem solving skills, the pavilion was to be constructed out of the wooden formwork used in concrete constructions around the world, including many currently being built in Rio like the long-awaited Museum of Image and Sound in Copacabana.

One of the students responsible for the project, Miguel Darcy says, “We didn’t have a large team of technicians, this material essentially meant we could use the staff who work with these components to build the space for us. The construction was very transitional, emulating the urban atmosphere in Rio and we also thought it would be interesting to observe the public’s reaction to seeing the museum become a construction site.”

By hoping to create some mild provocation as people wondered what was going on at one of the city’s most beloved public spaces, Darcy and the group hoped to kick-start a wider discussion about architecture and planning in Rio, which they feel the city is lacking.

Over the last few years it has seemed as though vast swathes of the city have become building sites, with little information or consultation on what is being built. The Canteiro exhibition provides a glimpse into the thoughts of Rio’s next generation of architects and also an opportunity for the city’s public to think about how the city is changing and the success of the recent wave of building.

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The Architecture and Urbanism students from PUC in Rio celebrate at the opening of their exhibition Canteiro, photo by Studio-X.

Unfortunately due to budget cuts the pavilion at MAM was never realized, but the students’ impressive blueprints, plans and stunning architectural model can be seen at Studio-X. “Of course we feel frustration, we are young architects who haven’t built anything and this would have been a great opportunity to work with big names, but we also want to reinforce the idea of critical design which is practical at the same time,” Darcy added.

The group of PUC-Rio graduate students have been working together since 2013 when they worked on a project for Architecture Biennale in São Paulo. Since then the group has had different formations.
The group responsible for Canteiro is composed by André Porto Bruno Siniscalchi, Carlos Zebulun, Rodrigo Messina, Matthew Rose, Michael Darcy, Cauê Mattos, William Rizzo and Giovanna Drolshagen.

For the Canteiro exhibition they decided to display the blueprints of the pavilion, impressions of what the construction would have looked like and the architectural model. They have also pasted the walls with newspaper cuttings that were collected by students on another degree course and feature headlines commenting on architectural transition in Rio. “In some ways this reflects our interest in collaborative and participatory design as many ideas are brought together,” Darcy added.

While the students designed, curated and installed the exhibition, they were given support by the team at Studio-X who regularly invite students from PUC-Rio to participate in workshops and events. Located in Rio’s downtown area and one of several interesting cultural institutions in this area, Studio X is part learning space, part design studio and part public forum, Studio-X is part of a global research network partnered with the University of Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.

Since 2011 has been hosting a variety of events that bring together professionals, academics, decision makers, students, and the general public to engage with current urban challenges in Rio. With a full schedule of talks (many of which are in English thanks to the connection to the New York-based university), three exhibition spaces and a genuine desire to connect with the public, Studio-X provides the opportunity to consider what the future of Rio and other cities might look like.

What: Canteiro Exhibition
When: July 10 – August 30, Monday – Saturday 12 Noon – 7PM.
Where: Studio-X, Praça Tiradentes 48, Centro
Entrance: Free


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