Can we engage Hyper Regions with Slow Cities?

How do we approach urban barriers and connection corridors?

Rio de Janeiro is a Mega City; a complex organism with certain characteristics coming to the extremes. The entire metropolitan area is home to some 12,2 million people, becoming a urban management challenge. To that it is a city made of completely different urban fabrics (mosaics, block compositions, linked assemblies, collisions, clusters, field vectors, patchworks and various  grids) with equally diverse actors standing behind them. This diversity is visible even when zooming to a 1×1 km area. This strangeness becomes something very delicate and appealing. It is what constitutes an interesting paradox; a gigantic Mega City that however is knitted of delicate and sensitive fabric.


The project area is a designated perinode. This may be understood as a node of communication and various activities, located very close to the city center, but at the same time, very far from a city center reality. In this unique situation, the rivalry between a Hyper Region and a Slow City is even more emphasized.

Hyper Regions are areas of extreme speed, complexity and grand scale, both in use and communications, while Slow Cities are its opposite, areas where life is more slow and simple. In daily life, these two need each other, like magnets searching for balance.

This project begun as a research in how these may work together.

When a residential district mixed with degradation of  industry has characteristics of a Slow City and a business district mixed with infrastructure cores resembles a hyper region, how do you make these work together? It is a delicate task, requiring delicate and focused interventions.

Hyper Regions and Slow cities are usually connected to certain infrastructures that allows for their characteristics, these objects as highways, rail communication, cycle ways or piazzas are enablers, however to other actors may become barriers.

The second theme of this project became an inquiry into how urban barriers may be broken without disturbing their activities. How can we transform a limitation into a new possibility of public contact? In the close future, can we condense transport into a series of super efficient veins and make pedestrian movement better?

This project represents an educated speculation, being based on research, of how the situation and urban scenario of Rio de Janeiro will look in 2050.

It is not exuberant, but a series of smaller but strategic conclusions that deal with the way we may come to live, work, move and experience urban participation.

The way to look at this project is considering it as a “smart urban monster”. A object that connects areas of high intensity with those of low. In a sensitive manner, provides necessary functions in a most adequate way, fostering cooperation and openness. To that, not only in the strict project area, but with a greater strategic scale.

Since the project is for a 2050 Rio de Janeiro, the first step taken, was to approach and speculate about what the city will look like, what will be the needs and lifestyle in 33 years from now.

The second step was to study more deeply the main feature of our assigned Perinode: the infrastructures. And understand, according to the speculations, how to maintain/demolish/reuse it.

The final step was to analyse the existing functions, trying to understand how deeply set they are in the area.





4 main function axis were highlighted in the study, becoming the 3rd starting point for the design.

 The approach towards designing was an immediant resultant of the analysis made:

  • how to overcome the blocking barrier caused by the heavy infrastructure
  • how to treat mobility according to the speculations previously made
  • how to treat the existing multi-functionality emphasising their coexistence
  • how to create open public spaces to connect different functions, different zones, different realities.

The shape taken by the project recalls the speed of mobility, the spreading out of different functions towards the existing context, inglobating part of it.

The idea was to use the different plan floors to achieve the various purposes that were crucial for the design concept.The ground floor is one whole plan. All volumes are connected in these level, spreading out, outreaching the existing surrounding on all sides.As the levels increase, the volumes slowly start to differentiate, separating functions and activities.



According to our speculations, private cars ownship will decrease, while car sharing will be preferred as a more efficient service. The main roads were maintained as they are now.By decreasing the velocity in the project zone, hop on-hop off platforms were added, in order to support the mobility towards the rest of the city. The metro lines and stops were maintained, while some of the railway tracks were removed, maintaining the main ones.

A pedestrian and bicycle path was introduced, connecting the project to the surrounding through its spreading branches.

Where the different mobility connections meet, vertical platforms were introduced. Different scales depend on the number of functions they are going to serve.



The strategy taken was to break the barriers of the infrastructures, in different ways, depending on the function.

Offices and schools are located on CBD and residential axis, creating a bridge to the -interrupted- existing axis.