Celula Urbana Jacarezinho / Rio De Janeiro

Model Project Celula Urbana

In 2000, the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation was invited by the municipal authority of Rio de Janeiro to develop a model project for one of the 500 favelas in the Brazilian metropolis. This international co-operation on a project in a favela was a new departure.

The celula urbana model project has a very specific urban development approach. The socio-spatial structures that have evolved in the favela, and the favela architecture itself, are seen as harbouring development potential and they serve as a point of departure for town planning schemes that take account of the individual life perspectives of the inhabitants.

The heart of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation’s model project is the »urban cell«, a model district where prototype solutions are put forward for town planning and architectural interventions, which can then be applied throughout the favela. These allow residents and tradesmen to undertake interventions that they organise themselves.

The first proposal, motivated by a concern for cautious urban renewal, was for a new structure of plots of land, allowing the very small plots to be increased to an efficient size. A further aim of the reconstruction measures, in addition to optimising floor plans and creating minimum standards for room and house sizes, is to improve climate protection.

The redevelopment plans have now been completed. In late 2002, building work began on the infrastructure and buildings in the model block. The first building will be opened in the beginning of 2004. At least two other buildings should be completed this year. Another component of the Bauhaus plans that is due for completion is a new entrance to the favela.

project management: Prof. Dr. Omar Akbar
architects: Silvan Linden, Berlin and Rainer Weisbach, Dessau with René Weiszbarth, Dessau and Bernhard von Oppeln, Berlin