Cidade das Artes

By Kirsten Kiser

Cidade das Artes, Christian de Portzamparc
Nelson Kon
 

Paying homage to an archetype of Brazilian architecture, this agglomeration of music halls and cultural spaces, headquarters of the Brazilian Symphonic Orchestra, is seen as a large house — a great veranda above the city.

The Cidade das Artes is situated between mountains and sea, at the center of Barra da Tijuca, a newly developed district of Rio de Janeiro. The site is a central space at the interchange of two highways that cross the district, master-planned by Lucio Costa. Here, Cidade das Artes is at the very heart of the new city.

The building is a small city contained in one big structure raised and built on a vast terrace ten meters above the ground. The terrace, with views of the sea and the mountains, itself floats above a public park — a tropical, aquatic garden designed by Fernando Chacel.

The halls are contained behind large curved concrete walls, in a play of volumes and voids, between the two horizontal plates of the roof and terrace. The terrace is a public gathering space that provides access to all the facilities. 

The facilities include a concert hall, which can be converted into an opera house; a performance space for both chamber and popular music; movie theaters; dance studios; numerous rehearsal rooms; exhibition spaces; restaurants; and a media library.

Cidade das Artes is a highly visible urban signal, a new landmark in the greater Rio area. The architecture echoes the beautiful curves of the Sierra Atlantica Mountains and the line of the sea. For travelers arriving by train from the northern zones, it forms the entry point to Barra da Tijuca on Ayrton Senna Avenue.

Country and City

Rio de Janeiro

Architect

Christian de Portzamparc

Built

2013