Pedregulho Reimagined

Built in 1949–51 by Brazilian modernist architect Affonso Eduardo Reidy, the Pedregulho Housing Complex sits prominently on a hill looking west over Rio de Janeiro. Intimately linked to the ground upon which it sits, the serpentine structure was extruded from the hill’s topographic lines. The building was sited by the Department of Public Housing such that it could be viewed from around the city: a branding exercise by the government that exposed the building, and consequently, its residents. Although the Pedregulho’s position on the hill certainly increases its visibility and allows for a third floor entrance, thus eliminating the need for elevators, the hill has created greater problems than it has solved. In order to bring the importance of the hill to light, we have compressed the curve of the building into a three-inch deep section relief.

During the hottest hours of the day, the sun directly hits the building’s western façade, leading to unpleasantly hot living conditions. Our solution confronts this problem by drawing on the slope of the hill and the existing form of the building to create a shading system. We extended the sunward side of the building so that each floor shades the floors below. Additionally, we have built up the hill on the other side, both to redirect the north-south prevailing winds into the structure as a cooling measure and to foster a sense of shelter.

Created in collaboration with Cate Ayers for ARCH/URBN 200b: Scales of Design (Spring 2020).
Model: 20” x 12” x 3”, carboard, paint, acrylic.
Section: 60” x 18”, drawn digitally and printed.