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Império do Botafogo – Escola de Samba (School of Samba) Rio De Janeiro

Part 2 Project 2001
Martin Taylor
University of Plymouth, UK
The project developed through the web to locate a site and brief. A group from Dona Marta, a Favela (shanty) in Rio suggested their neighbourhood. Shanty and disaster housing have always been of interest to the international architectural community. However, the importance of housing should not overshadow cultural and recreational needs. The phenomenon of Samba in the low-income regions of Brazil is a modern expression of industrial culture rooted in a traditional rural background.
The School of Samba is more a social-club than a place to learn to dance! It’s the focus for community based activity and fronts a wide range of social, recreational and educational functions for a self-help community. Lack of open space in the Favela and environmental concerns prompted the lifting of the arena to provide a flexible exterior space. The construction technology explores local resources, providing prototypical formats for the next generation of building in the Favelas. Their existence is increasingly viewed as definition of the city as a reflection of its infrastructure and legislation. The project looks closely at the Favela Bairro (shanty upgrading) scheme, and follows its principals of democratisation, partnership and integration of the informal settlements to the formal fabric. Ultimately this project expresses the belief that the city can offer the privileged spaces for the future.

Martin Taylor

Martin has shown great concern for the needs of those for whom he designs and for the physical environments and cultures in which his projects are set. The Thesis project for a Samba School in Rio de Janeiro was challenging in all these respects.

Martin showed great initiative and skill in making and following up international contacts in the development of the brief and in the analysis of the City and the Barrio and the site in which the project is set. He also exhibited considerable enthusiam for the exploration of the technical and social potential of the building in a setting where the use of local skills and building materials were a key aspect of the project. The range of focus and levels of detail which the project pursues, and the level of sophistication in the integration of the final design solution within a very demanding physical context fully responded to the ambitions of the People, Place and Architecture studio in which he has been working for his Diploma years.

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