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2010 Historic Preservation Travel

Summer 2010 Internship Project - Rio de Janeiro

Rio, Brazil’s dynamic cultural capital, hosted five Historic Preservation students this summer, working with program director Andrew Dolkart, director of conservation George Wheeler, and Rio-native and HP alum Sabine Van Riel, on a project to document three vernacular nineteenth-century sabrados that will be converted into the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation’s newest international Studio X -- a venue for lectures, exhibitions, and other events focusing on architecture and urban issues. Sobrados are a common vernacular type in Rio that has been largely ignored by historians. This type of building date from as early as the 1820s, with stores on the first floor, and housing on the one or two stories above.

As part of their summer internship, the five HP students, working with a group of Brazilian architecture students, began a complete documentation of the deteriorated buildings, completing plans and elevations, undertaking materials analysis and a conditions survey, and investigating the history of these buildings and the building types.

This has been an exciting project for the students, permitting an investigation of an important building typology, but it has also been fun, with time for seeing the sights of Rio; cheering on Brazil's World Cup team; and relaxing at Ipanema and Copacabana beaches.The results of the documentation project will be published in a report cosponsored by the GSAPP and Rio's Fundação Roberto Marinho.

Fall 2010 Joint HP/AAD Studio in Rio de Janeiro

As part of the newly revised HP curricular focus on design, the joint AAD/HP studio for the first time has preservation students (holding architecture degrees) taking the class for full credit and designing along their counterparts in the Advanced Architecture Design program. Craig Konyk (AAD) and Jorge Otero-Pailos (HP) are co-teaching the studio, which traveled to Rio de Janeiro, where a GSAPP Studio-X is being set up.

This year the research question for the studio is whether historic preservation can offer a new model of urban transformation and regeneration that is not dependent upon newness value. Rio is a particularly important laboratory for this research as it is poised to undergo a major urban transformation in anticipation of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

The studio asks students to experiment with preservation as a new design strategy for envisioning the future transformation of Rio. Students of this studio will select from a given list of significant sites within the Centro, and propose the creation of an urban ensemble, incorporating the historical architectural artifact as the primary element of the composition, utilizing street, plaza, and landscape within the proposed intervention.