Installation "From where you don't see when you are"
The project exhibited in the Brazillian Pavilion "Walls of Air" at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia is an installation over Niemeyer's Museum of Contemporary Art, repurposing an omitted modern roof as a contemporary public space by Pedro Varella and gru.a architects.
Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum (MAC) ws designed in 1991 by Oscar Niemeyer and represents one of the most famous icons of Brazilian architecture. The boundaries between the building and the Guanabara Bay landscape are clearly defined by the sharp edges of its reinforced concrete structure. The visitors' movement within the space are controlled: the acces from the dry plaza, the sinuous ramp and finally the landscape, framed by the edges of the structure. It was designed to be seen by those who finish the sequence thought by its architect. Although original design conditions are difficult to ignore, they are precisely the starting point to formulate an instigating challenge: how can we free ourselves from MAC's prominent image? How can we challenge the limits imposed by the greater Brazilian master's design, offering new experiences to people?
The project offers visitos the opportunity to be in this iconic buuilding, although, ate the same time, they also lose sight of its outlines. To make this possible, a tubular strutured ladder was installed, providing a continuity to the ascending movement of the ramp, leading people to the museum's roof slab. On the roof slab's perimeter, a tubular handrail system was attached to the existing structure by a tensioned cable system, allowing the handrail to stand still without any interference in the slab surface.
From the rooftop, the distinction between figure and background is lost and an unexplored field of reflections and sensations opens up. The architecture, which usually is recognized by its visual appearance of its iconic status and predetermined views, is subverted as a support to imagination, revealing formely hidden interpretative layers.