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Rio Floods | Disaster Recovery


Nosso Cuiabá is a housing development, already under construction, for 61 families displaced by the flooding in January 2011. In addition to housing, there will be five commercial spaces. There were no plans for sports facilities.

This is where we came in.

A portion of the donated 54.000m2 parcel has been set aside for a sports and recreation area. Architecture for Humanity worked with project partners designing a park on top of a hill with spanning views of the Vale do Cuiabá.

After 3 months of hard work and great collaboration, the design phase of the Sports and Recreation Area at the Vale do Cuiabá is coming to an end. Although the neighborhood will have only 61 housing units, the sports and recreation area will be a public space, open to the entire community.

Facilities Program
• Clay Court;
• Sand Court;
• Playground;
• Open-Air Fitness Center;
• Connections to adjacent natural areas;
• Barbecue/Picnic Area;
• Table Games Area;
• Hammocks;
• Ping-Pong Table;
• Center with indoor and outdoor sheltered meeting space, restrooms, storage for sports equipment and a snack bar/kitchen;

Considering the exquisite location of the site and the programmatic needs of the community, the area will become a gathering place for the local population, a central open-air spot of athletic and social life of the community; their Agora. For that reason the Project is being considered a public square, a landscape intervention that respects the natural geography of the site.

Aesthetically the idea was to design a contemporary park, using as many natural materials as possible. The design will happen in different layers, mostly happening on the ground level. The small building containing the Snack Bar, the Storage and the Toilet Facilities will be the only enclosed space of the Project. In addition, the Project will protect and retain existing landscaping and natural features.

Vegetable Gardens
Part of the Sports and Recreation Area was set aside for the implementation of vegetable gardens. Petrópolis is a rural area with perfect soil and climate for food production.

EMATER (Empresa Brasileira de Extensão Rural) is the Brazilian Company for Rural Extension. They work with the Government of the State of Rio de Janeiro implementing programs for agricultural development and environmental preservation in the State.

They will work in the Vale do Cuiabá site, inside the Sports and Recreation Area, implementing the vegetable gardens. They will provide financial and logistic support and will develop educational programs to prepare the population of the newly created community to take full advantage of the gardens. The educational program will include preparing the population for the maintenance of the area.

Vale do Cuiabá, Petrópolis - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Why here?
Between January 11 and 12, 2011, 144 mm of rain fell near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The rains led to flooding which led to mudslides which led to landslides destroying an estimated 3000 houses, displacing 100,000 Brazilians and causing over 900 deaths. The precipitation in those 24 hours surpassed the monthly average and resulted in the worst natural disaster and preventable loss in Brazilian history.

The disaster could be considered more man-made than natural. Poor development decisions, such as a lack of disaster planning and a leniency toward development of treacherous, flood-prone land, is thought to have had an equal part in the region's devastation.

Following the disaster, Nike do Brasil committed funding in support of a small sports center in Petrópolis, a community severely damaged by the rains, with Architecture for Humanity. The sports facility will ensure space is protected for public meeting and creative play. As recently demonstrated in tsunami-stricken Tohoku, sports structures support a community's balanced recovery.

Student Workshop
Graduate students at the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Master of International Cooperation, Sustainable Emergency Architecture performed initial site, facility program and schematic development studies.

Thanks to all their hard work!




Project Details

NAME: Rio Floods | Disaster Recovery
PROJECT LEAD: Architecture for Humanity
LOCATION: Petrópolis, Brazil
START DATE: March 01, 2012
CURRENT PHASE: Design complete
PROJECT TYPE: Landscapes/Parks/Outdoor Spaces
, Community Counsel of Vale do Cuiaba (CCVC)
DESIGN FELLOW: Carolina Libardi