The Bartlett School of Architecture


Space Syntax at Rio@Rio International Seminar

17 March 2015


RIO@RIO: Resilient Inspirational (self-) Organisation at Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

As more than one billion urban residents around the world live in informal settlements we need a body of investigation that addresses the relationship of urban informality with architecture and the profession. Where better to find a more striking combination of modern architecture with some of the world’s most resilient self-built settlements than in Rio de Janeiro?

Based on this idea, in February 2015 students and staff (pictured above) from The Bartlett School of Architecture's MSc Spatial Design Architecture Cities (SDAC) programme, met with architects, academics and the public at Rio@Rio, for across-continental exchange between UCL and leading professionals of the region. The event was hosted at Studio-X Rio at PraçaTiradentes in central Rio. Studio-X is part of GSAPP at Columbia University, a laboratory for exploring the future of cities and the questions that will face the next generation of designers.

Led by Sophia Psarra and teaching assistants Kimon Krenz, Caue Capille and Fani Kostourou, RIO@RIO was part of the study trip and the E-merging Architectural Research Module on The Bartlett's MSc SDAC programme, which this year focuses on Rocinha, one of the Rio’s informal settlements. The module is a newly established course that explores innovative links between design research and laboratory research using theories and techniques of spatial visualisation, mapping and analysis known as Space Syntax. Students and organisers were joined by guest speakers Pedro Evora and Pedro Rivera (RUA Arquitettos), Guilherme Lassance (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro), Vinicius Netto (Universidade Federal Fluminense), and Jamie O’Brien (Space Syntax Laboratory). Intense debate followed a series of challenging presentations on how to mediate between the ingenuity of cities without architects and architectural aspirations. 

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