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Interstitial Urbanism: The Mat Building as Connective Public Space: University, Sports, and Commercial Plaza in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Harvard Graduate School of Design Studio with Professors Jorge Silvetti and Paul Nakazawa (2011)

The Maracana area in Rio de Janeiro is a series of large scale “islands” separated by major highways and railroads which cut across the urban fabric. The main point of entry to the site is a metro station floating 9 meters above the rail tracks. It currently only bridges south, connecting directly to the university (20,000 students) and stadium (100,000 person capacity). The entry level of the University is at +6 meters above ground level, and the stadium is at +12 meters. To the north is one of Rio’s largest favelas, and it is without access to either the metro station or the amenities which exist in the more developed residential fabric to the south. The projects aims to mediate and provide connections between the different levels and destinations of the site while becoming a place within itself. It is composed of three program components: education, athletics, and commerce. The university extension introduces the scale of the American campus originally envisioned for the university. The sports facilities are a reorganization of those already existing on the site to open them up to public use and open-air spectating. The commercial space serves both the everyday needs of the local residents as well as those of the transient population of students and stadium visitors. The whole complex acts as a holding ground for the large crowds which gather at the stadium for soccer games and other major public events.

The project envisioned in two phases, the first of which was developed here. The second phase would focus on the north side of the site, beginning with the area where the new connection across the rail tracks touches down. The intention is to re-use the existing abandoned military base as a cultural complex, through it forging a connection to the Quinta da Boa Vista public park.

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Project Year: 2011