oyapock architectes renovates hilltop entertainment venue in rio de janeiro

oyapock architectes renovates hilltop entertainment venue in rio de janeiro

this entertainment venue is perched at the summit of a favela in rio de janeiro, overlooking the brazilian city’s dramatic coastal landscape. designed by oyapock architectes, the project involved the extension and renovation of an existing building — a difficult task owing to the site’s hilltop location. the venue, which serves as a music venue, bar, and restaurant, is the product of its context, with the project completed in several phases using materials found within the community.

all images courtesy of oyapock architectes



the intervention is a steel structure that was assembled from small pieces — transported through the favela’s alleyways. ‘prefabricated concrete and steel slabs were also used, while discarded steel mesh from other building sites was used either as a false ceiling or in the façade as a support for vases and lighting devices,’ explains oyapock architectes. ‘ordinary materials, easily found in surrounding buildings, gain a more precious dimension by the way we have employed them in our project (the rhythm of the bricks, the wooden latticework) and give it a very particular identity.’



the extension was made both above and beneath the existing structure, as an accumulation of slabs leaning towards the ocean. the steel pergola is used as a support for lighting, solar protection, and suspended furniture. ‘the evolution of the vidigal neighborhood, like that of many other favelas at the heart of rio, is intertwined with the recent transformations of the city,’ says the design team. ‘these territories have been struggling for decades only to profit from the economic boom in the 2000s and of the world sports events that took place: the world cup in 2014 and the olympic games in 2016.’



the extension was made in three phases: first, the enlargement of the ground floor and restructuring of the entrance by building over the former garage. then, an extension towards the -1 and -2 levels was made by creating a second restaurant-bar protected from the weather. finally, by purchasing a small house on the first floor, the team could create a new terrace with a brick volume that corresponds to the space occupied by the former house. a new staircase made it possible to connect all these levels, which were formerly only accessible through different alleys.



a new steel structure covers the two new upper floors, creating open plans where there was previously a maze of columns and beams. on the ground floor, a wooden volume hosts the cashier and a lounge and a bar at the rear, freeing up the rest of the floor for circulation, tables, and concert space. at the first floor, the small house was replaced by the bar that divides the area between a lounge at the rear and a terrace open to the views of ipanema and leblon at the front.



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project info:


name: bar da laje
architects: oyapock architectes
location: favela do vidigal, rio de janeiro, brazil
client: private
surface: 600 sqm / 6,458 sqf
dates: 2015-2018

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