Brazil is developing as a leader in the global market and implementing sustainability in its quarters. It is known as the world’s sixth-largest economy. Between the years 2005 and 2010, the growth of the population and migration to the cities accounted for about a 21 percent increase in energy-related emission. In the Brazilian soil, there is also a rich biodiversity harnessed. The danger of losing such diversity comes at the expense of human activities. Authorities in Brazil are investigating ways in which to help eradicate the challenges in developing infrastructure, and cater to its people. Among these are key sectors like cities and transport, finance, and sustainable landscape. Implementation of such solutions will allow Brazil to evolve to sustain its demands.
Up-cycling: Repurposing Olympic venues
Every four years a country takes on a huge budget to entertain the world. The Summer Olympics fell on the shoulders of Brazil. Athletes competed for titles, bringing out successes like Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, and Simone Biles. As the Olympic and Paralympic events came to an end in the summer of 2016, it yielded vacant venues. Thereafter birthed a problem: the stadiums for the games are constructed with a purpose for only two weeks. Usually, the spaces are meant to sit large crowds, while residential homes are displaced, leaving citizens to fend for accommodation.
Brazil was confronted with the decision of taking on a huge fee for maintaining the facilities or redesigning the space such that it served an alternative purpose, though many may argue that this isn’t a new idea. The Olympic host sites of Beijing and London implemented a similar approach. Although many sites were left in the shadows as wasted land, there have been successful stories.
Beijing reconstructed their aquatic facility from the 2008 Olympics to a swimming center, one of the largest in the world. It is known as the Beijing Water Cube, with a price tag of $100 million. After the 2010 Winter Olympics, the Olympic speed skating rink in Vancouver was maintained with a yearly commitment of $110 million. On the other end of the spectrum, there lie deserted monuments like the Softball Stadium that was used in the Athens Olympics in 2004.
The difference in the infrastructure for the Olympic venue in Rio is key to determining the success of repurposing. It was built to be temporary. The term for this technique is known as “nomadic architecture,” which implies the possibility of deconstruction and relocation of the Olympic stadiums. It is characterized by joining small pieces with a larger bulk of infrastructure. This is a huge benefit since this infrastructure creates room for future exploration. It also holds materials that use about 50% of the carbon footprint as opposed to conventional buildings. This approach stems out of the idea of using old materials rather than disposing of them and is an effective way of reducing the carbon emissions.
The venue that hosted handball will be demolished to build primary schools in the neighborhood of Jacarepaguá. It is estimated to sit 500 students. The disassembling of the Olympics Aquatic Stadium will form smaller community pools. The International Broadcast Center will serve as a foundation for a dormitory, specifically for a high school that caters to gifted athletes. A combination of the Olympic Park in Barra de Tijuca, the 300-acre center, and nine Olympic venues will be developed as public parks and sold independently for private augmentation, most likely to contribute to educational and sports facilities. The seats in the tennis venue, a total of about 18,250, will be displaced at different sites.
Brazil’s economic stance is fragile, and it is important to capitalize on the country’s opportunity for investments. The company that is responsible for promoting such architecture is AECOM. The importance of maintaining the social status and taking financial responsibility were major reasons behind their works, which were designed to be taken apart and built up again, like puzzle pieces. According to David Fanon, an Assistant Professor with a joint appointment in the School of Architecture and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Northeastern University, nomadic architecture has similar components. This includes standard steel columns, steel panels, and concrete slabs that can be dismantled and relocated. This, in turn, avoids the limitations of how such components can be used and, at the same time, preserves the function of the material.
Challenges in nomadic architecture
The parts used in building the nomadic architecture have to be classified as both easy to take apart and ‘clean’. That is, they generate little to no carbon footprints on the environment. A joint system, as illustrated in beams and columns, is portrayed as necessary. However, significant challenges arise by judging the ability of the design to perform as a system. The parts of the nomadic architecture must also serve as a base for building the next project. Larger components will most likely have limitations for variations and alternative use. The Olympic venues in Rio are believed to have combated both problems by projecting into the future possible uses of the parts before the buildings were established.
Although the implementation of a nomadic architecture for the Olympic venues implies a long-lasting legacy for the structures, doubts arise from Brazil executing the strategies for repurposing the Olympic venues.
Morar Carioca – Changing the outlook of cities
It is suggested that about half of the world’s population live in cities. This means more people are moving to urbanized settings, a more connected way of life, and a chance to improve their lifestyle. However, not all individuals are mobile or have the resources to make that decision. This is seen in poorer regions of Brazil, also known as favelas. They are described as informal housings. For the case of Rio, it all began in 1897, prompted by soldiers that returned from the Canudos war. This was based on the necessity for accommodation for migrants due to the absence of low-cost housing.
During the 1960’s the real estate hope for profit turned their eyes to the development of favelas. A federal program called CHISAM began expelling individuals from their homes. From the late 1900s to now, in the 21st century, activists and support groups have been promoting on-site development. It is not only about the separation of a community, but the stripping of a people from their culture. The first attempt to resolve this problem was with the Favela-Barrio project, which began in 1994 and unfortunately terminated in 2008. In place of removing residents, these communities were developed. The Morar Carioca project took on the baton in hope to upgrade all the favelas by 2020.
As a successor, Morar Carioca will further develop the favelas and work on faults experienced by the Favela-Barrio project. One of its focuses will be on providing sufficient energy and water sources. The sewerage services will be built to ensure proper removal of waste. Streetlights will be installed, and social services and recreation centers will be constructed. Also, facilities that foster education and health services will provide support for the communities. Transportation will also be expected to reach these areas.
There are speculations that perhaps the project could be used as an excuse to withdraw money for unrelated projects. To avoid such corruption, Morar Carioca will be open to the public so that the community participates. By doing this, the conversations between residents will serve as feedback.
With an estimated cost of $4.6 billion, an attempt on gaining a return investment from the Olympics could be achieved with privatizing properties and up-cycling into neighboring communities. Although the plans are written on paper, many fear of the ability to maintain such programs. On one hand, individuals were displaced to accommodate the development of venues for the Olympics. This is counterproductive to the Morar Carioca project that preserves communities and promotes growth by upgrading infrastructure and amenities. However, the Olympic venues will give back to the community by upholding social facilities for the public. The chances for proper regulation, which further permits achieving the set goals, is yet to be decided in the later years.