Casa de Rui Barbosa

Casa de Rui Barbosa

The proposal submitted at the national public competition for the creation of a collection storage structure for Casa de Rui Barbosa, situated in Rio de Janeiro, derives from the idea of a sole architectural set located on a lot with an irregular geometry. Once the alignments of the urban layout, lot frontage and mandatory minimum setbacks were assessed, the guidelines of the project were determined.

The key point of the architectural approach was the creation of a Plaza resulting from the volumetric relation among the three newly designed elements (annex, exhibition hall and staircase) added to the existing building. As it organizes and distributes the surrounding spaces, the Plaza plays a central role in this proposal.

The preservation of the preexisting structure was essential, concerning its perception in the space, in order to maintain its full image and to propose the creation of a formal dialogue with the new without attempting to reproduce or prevail over one another. In this sense, we emphasize, in the specific case of the composition of the outer walls of the new buildings, the assimilation of the modulation found on the façade of the main building, marked by vertical plates with alternating patterns of full and empty spaces. By repeating this modenature with the frames of the new buildings, a dialogue is created via similarity and contrast: formal similarity in the compact nature of the concrete and contrast due to its repetition and the transparency of the glass.

The defining concept of “box within a box”, from the storage areas to the use of minimum setbacks, and the creation of a basement similar to that of the main building allowed for a larger built area to store the collection and established a connection between the two volumes.

The main façade of the annex, with its metal screen, seeks to interpret the function of the building as a “big safety box”, marked by two complementary transparent skins, situated on the ground floor and top floor, as voids that capture light and promote integration with the surrounding environment. Said metal skin possesses varying perforation sizes, defined according to the need for natural lighting on the inside: while they are small in the vicinity of the antechambers, they are larger close to the circulation areas.

The entire structure is designed in reinforced concrete, in a simple system composed of pillars, flat beams and waffle slabs; a total of eight equal pillars are set far from the perimeter of the lot. The solution allows for flexible use of the building for creating open plans with the peripheral structure. The dimensions of the waffle slabs are customized to support a load equivalent to 2000 kg/m2, which is enough to sustain the rolling stack shelves and the collection. In spite of being a reinforced structure, its design is not sophisticated, its execution is not complex, and it does not cost much.


Date: 2013
Location: Botafogo – Rio de Janeiro/Rio de Janeiro
GPS Coordinates: 22°56’52.6″S 43°11’14.3″W (see on google)
Status: Not built
Site Area: 520 m²
Size: 2.272 m²
Author: Adriano Mascarenhas
Contributors: Griselda kluppel, Arthur Chaves, Erasto Carvalho, Fernanda Machado, Thaís Canuto, Stella Andrade e Rafael Ferraz
Images: Collection Sotero Arquitetura