The world's largest festival and live awards for the global architecture community: debate, learn and be inspired
2-4 October 2013
Marina Bay Sands
It has been amazing to be part of the WAF award winning team. When you look across the range and quality of projects put forward for the WAF Awards, to be short listed and then become associated with the overall winner is a momentous achievement for Grant Associates.
Director - Grant Associates
Date posted: 23/10/08
From the Rio favelas to the Parisian banlieues, the general dislocation and disagreeability of urban peripheries is well known. But are such places entirely beyond hope?
Marcelo Ferraz, a Brazilian architect, knows only too well the problems and opportunities of the favelas. Some 82 per cent of Brazilians now live in cities, migrating from the impoverished countryside to the ever expanding slum peripheries that are consuming the hills around Rio de Janeiro and the suburbs of Sao Paulo. Ferraz studied architecture with City of God film director Fernando Meirelles, whose glamorised vision of a violent, anarchic anti-city has come to represent a sweet-sour view of contemporary favela life. Yet Ferraz does not see such places as beyond hope, despite the no-go areas, and sees the potential for developing a new kind of urbanity that can provide civic spaces and social interaction.
As Alex de Rijke perceptively observed, favelas also have positive qualities. Residents take pride in replacing their timber shacks with more durable structures, there are no gas guzzling cars, and a sense of community, albeit wrenched out of shared adversity, does prevail. Such places are not going to go away and their obstinate evolution has wider lessons for the so-called developed world.
To give up on the edge condition, as festival director Paul Finch argued, is to give up on the notion of the city itself and its pivotal place in human civilisation. Instead, we need strategies for reinvention and remodelling that mix unconventional approaches to politics, planning and architecture.
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