Situated in the western metropolitan zone of Rio de Janeiro, Santa Cruz is mainly a low-income neighborhood.
With a diversified landscape and a big variety of land uses, which range from remaining rural areas to industrial plants, Santa Cruz has gone through a considerable urban degradation process throughout its history.
The competition site is located next to the new steel plant, in a poor residential area with little commercial and educational infrastructure.
We walked along the streets of the neighborhood observing the street life around the site, which is little if compared to other parts of Rio de Janeiro. We asked the local population about their wishes and ideas concerning the new community center. The little feedback showed clearly, that an intense process of participation shall take place before the construction of the project, to include the population, and to create an identification of the object before its existence.
The pedagogical concept of the Leadership Center is the use of sport as a catalyst, the attraction of football as a means of social integration. Once managed to get the population involved in the project, the object is leadership training, personal skill development, academic advancement and athletic training. Football as a team-sport is a very important and dynamic tool to reinforce these qualities. The connection of sport with an educational infrastructure gives the possibility to influence the youth positively and open perspectives for their lifes.
The design concept focuses on the bridge between sports as a social catalyst and its accompanying social processes, such as academic advancement, social integration and preparation for a professional career (see the pedagogical objectives mentioned above).
The project proposes an axis, which organizes the different activities on the site, creates a space for gathering, centralizes fluxes and provokes social contact and integration. In the form of a covered public veranda it connects all building facilities, pitches and outdoor areas. Furthermore, it offers attractive places of permanence, meeting and interaction.
Equipped with benches, tables and green areas the natural ventilated veranda space becomes the central point of the project.
It is crossed by the main path of the community through the site in order to invite the community to enter the site and stay in the open space for an intense integration and participation in the project.
The permeability of the project as a whole is an important aspect to integrate it into the neighborhood.
The street football stadium and the additional pitch for training are placed on the south side of the veranda. The seats are linked to it and therefore covered by its big roof.
The indoor activities are concentrated on the north side, organized in slender building blocks, which guarantee permeability, flexibility and adaptation for further developments of the project.
A close contact between outdoor areas, football pitches and indoor spaces (such as classrooms, business units, administration offices and toilet rooms) gives the essence of the project – integration through the catalyst function of sports.
The indoor facilities are organized in 3 buildings.
The first corresponds to the first phase of construction until the Homeless World Cup in September 2010, and will have toilet rooms, locker rooms and administration, as well as a fitness room, storage and day care. It is located adjacent to the stadium, leveled with the top of the seats.
The classrooms and business units are modular, following the same module, in order to be flexible and guarantee maximum adaptation to further developments. Organized perpendicular to the public veranda, they can have different lengths depending on the use needed.
This configuration offers the possibility for the construction of a third block of the same kind.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY / CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES
The project is the initial point of a sustainable development, where the implementation of a pedagogical program can happen in synergy with the physical space, the community, the region and the local hot and humid climate.
The buildings are designed to offer a local microclimate which promises natural thermal comfort avoiding artificial conditioning. The use of cross ventilation and shadowing is the simplest and cheapest way of promoting energy savings in that kind of hot humid climate. The use of exterior shading elements and vegetation placed next to the building's exterior walls guarantee the protection of the building envelope against direct solar gain.
In this site, like in many other areas in Santa Cruz, the native plants have been replaced by impervious surfaces. The intense use of those native species of plants and the addition of water features, as part of the landscape treatment, help enhancing the local micro-climate reducing the heat island effect in the area, restoring the vegetation that once was there and help rebalancing the life of the local stream systems.
The 3 building blocks follow similar construction principals. Stone from a site near by will be used for base of the building. The walls will be made using rammed earth blocks, extracted from the site. The green roofs with extensive vegetation will help with the thermal insulation of the building and increase the pervious area.
Light shelves guarantee the entrance of natural light deeper into the program areas helping with the energy savings.
Corrugated translucent panels, originally used as roofing panels, will cover the whole south facades helping to bring daylight into the building. The north facades will be covered with horizontal wood lamella that will protect the indoor spaces from the direct sun light and avoid glare.
Additionally the project includes the on-site generation of energy, with solar water heating, and eventually in a second step, photovoltaic. The great roof of the linear space offers a huge area to add solar panels at any time.
This huge roof area serves as a storm water collector that will then be reused for the irrigation of the green areas and as toilet water. Additionally it will form a runlet through the landscaping, creating a poetic element in the outdoor areas of the project.
The construction techniques are planned in order to make savings, use ecological solutions, and stimulate the local economy with the use local labor. In this process, these local workers can also learn new skills and improve their professional experiences.
The classrooms are modular, to guarantee maximum flexibility. With 5 x 5,5m they have an indoor area of 27,50m². Additionally each classroom has a private patio, which can be included in the area. This permits different configurations of lessons, creative ambient and experimental programs.
The patio is defined by a vegetation-mass.
The classrooms are divided by flexible walls offering the possibility to unify 2 or also 3 rooms to a big one.
The main flux of the community through the site is the North-South connection in a diagonal line. This way is maintained and organized as a lively pass-through of the project. The south-corner of the site is the main access of the community to the site. At this point a huge garden area invites everyone to enter the site and penetrate the landscape between the pitches until reach the permeable construction, crossing the covered public veranda. Outdoor activities, meeting points in shadowed places, a children's playground and a runlet of rain water coming down the lightly sloped site in a simple and natural local landscaping create a referential place in the neighborhood.
The 2 pitches and the 3 buildings made in local materials and including local workers contain the principal room program of the project. Additionally we propose the veranda and its ceiling, which is at the same time an additional element as it is also the center point of the project. For this element we propose a steel construction, receiving a wood floor, and we suggest a separate financing of it. Since ThyssenKrupp CSA is constructing the huge steel plant in the neighborhood, the firm is in depth with the locals and is indicated to finance this part of the project. Since it is a steel construction, they can directly offer the material instead of financing indirectly.
The 3 buildings and the preparation of the pitches are covered by the project budget, since its construction techniques focus economic performance.
THE ICON OF THE COMMUNITY
The local neighborhood is a place where houses grow without any overall planning and any vital identity of architecture. In this context the new Leadership Center will offer identification with the cause, with open access, the presence of vegetation with all its positive influence, meeting points together with an architectural gesture of integrity.
EXPANDING THE EFFECT
The project shall be a center of change, a point in the neighborhood, where new perspectives arise.
To mark the presence in the area, and to symbolize the spreading effect of the Leadership Center, each attended youth shall plant a tree in the neighborhood.
This is an organic way to improve the local micro-climate, and to give an example how team work can change things.
The neighborhood is currently in a transformation process, concerning the implantation of the steel plant. The Leadership Center shall motivate the population to seize the opportunity and improve the living conditions in a process of intense participation.
The project is organized in separate building blocks connected by the linear Public Veranda.
This organization permits the construction in different phases, without prejudice of the operating of already constructed parts.
The first phase is planned according to the demands of the Homeless World Cup in September 2010. The pitches together with the Sports Facilities Building form the construction of this phase.
The second phase contains the complete project, including additional elements to the required room program, like the Public Veranda, for instance.
Landscaping shall be implanted, and will always rise according to the needs of the project.
Future developments are outlined by the preparation of space for future constructions. The concrete program of these extensions will be defined according to the needs at any moment in the future of the project.
Any social and educational project with participation of local population, institutions and supporting firms is an extremely dynamic structure. The development has to be flexible to react on chances, ideas and opportunities.
The architectural project offers the maximum of flexibility and possibility of future adaption and extension of the building structure and therefore gives perfect conditions for the growing of the Leadership Center.
MATERIAL USED IN THE PROJECT
- Walls in Rammed Earth Block, extracted from the site
- Foundations in stone from the nearby shore
- Ceiling in Steel Construction with plywood, green roof with extensive vegetation
- Light shelves
- Corrugated translucent panels, originally used as roofing panels
- Horizontal wood lamella (wood with ecological label FSC)
- Public Veranda in Steel Construction, wood floor, ceiling in plywood, roof with recycled roofing panels