At age 78, architect Luiz Eduardo Indio da Costa maintains a habit he fell in love with many decades ago: that of walking. But even when he’s taking care of his health, he doesn’t put his work aside. As he drives through Rio’s streets, he wonders how to make them better spaces, and many of his ideas have turned into projects. He believes that urbanism is a way to transform lives in a city.
Despite the heavy routine of his architecture firm – responsible for implementing the VLT and integrating the system with the streets downtown – Indio da Costa always reserves time for his walks. Between one outing and another, ideas come about like that which gave rise to the remodeling of the beachside kiosks. From the architect’s drawing board come a variety of different traits, but all follow the same concept: smoothness.
When he speaks of smoothness, Indio da Costa refers mainly to the preoccupation with life in the metropolis. Recently, he envisioned a panoramic city, with the creation of a circuit of cable cars linking several hills of the South Zone. The idea was presented last year, during the Utopias Cariocas show, which was part of Design Week Rio. For Barra and its chaotic transit, he designed a system to connect it with Itanhangá via a bridge over Lagoa da Tijuca. In Ipanema, a solution would restore the sovereignty of times gone by to the pedestrian: he proposes the widening of the beach sidewalk.
“I’m in love with Rio. It’s a beautiful, spectacular city that welcomed me with open arms. I am a Gaucho, but I became a citizen of Rio de Janeiro, a title I received from the Legislative Assembly in 2013. I say, jokingly, that I have dual citizenship. I keep a close eye on the city, and for me there are two scales of action. One is macro-urbanism, with which you see the city as a whole, something that the urban planner does in general, mapping areas for transformation, studying transport, discerning potential tourism spots … And there is a more delicate, smaller view, that of micro-interference. I think Rio de Janeiro has needed this,” says Indio da Costa, who authored the Rio Cidade Leblon project.
Working in partnership with an international office in the design of the Museum of Image and Sound (MIS), Indio da Costa believes that after a period of major urban planning interventions in Rio, it is time to look back at the details. It is, he says, time to think about projects that can provide comfort in the movements of Cariocas.
Architect with new ideas for the city of Rio
Barra – Itanhangá
The project provides a bridge between Avenida das Américas, in Barra da Tijuca, and Itanhangá. It would be the resumption of Via Parque, foreseen in Lúcio Costa’s project, which was only done partially, behind Downtown shopping center. The construction would help to clear up traffic in the neighborhood.
Projeto Rio Panorâmico
About the hills
Taking advantage of the chain of mountains in the South Zone, a circuit of aerial trams would be installed, linking Sugar Loaf to hills in Copacabana and Botafogo. At the tops of Babilônia, São João, Saudade, Cabritos and Cantagalo, there would be lookout points and areas for eating.
Praia de Ipanema
The extension of a stretch of the Ipanema Beach sidewalk – which is four meters wide, half the size of the one at Copacabana Beach – would provide more comfort to those who walk along the waterfront. For the project, a strip of sand would be incorporated into the sidewalk.
Aterro do Flamengo
More space for leisure
The architect suggests the transfer of some soccer clubs (Vasco da Gama, Boqueirão do Passeio and Santa Luzia) that today occupy an area in the Aterro do Flamengo, between the Museum of Modern Art and the Santos Dumont Airport. The idea is to enlarge the park area.
Two bridges for vehicles on Rio Cabeça would link Rua Jardim Botânico and the Lagoon. For the architect, the project would relieve traffic in the region, reducing the large number of vehicles on Rua Saturnino de Brito.
“Due to the Olympics, we had a series of important projects, such as Line 4 of the subway and Parque Madureira. Now, I think the day-to-day of the city, the relationship of the citizen with its streets, with its neighborhood, is very impaired. We do not have a walkable sidewalk. A pleasant city is one in which the pedestrian has priority. The car, which was once a solution, became a problem.”
The architect misses the time when his grandmother, a resident of Rua Conde de Irajá in Botafogo, kept a wooden stool in the house that, filled with Portuguese stones, gave way to a standardized baroque design created by city hall. He thinks that, as in the past, the sidewalks must be the focus of city hall.
Many people do not take good care of their sidewalks, but the fact is they do not have a defined standard. This is present in any organized city. You can not let each property owner decide how the stretch in front of their property will be. When we made Rio Leblon City, we established a continuity of the sidewalks, which have a design – he remembers. The city underwent major construction and improved, but lost the attention to details. It doesn’t concern itself with the sidewalk, the median curb, the trees.
Among the many ideas that Indio da Costa proposes is a redesign of the Lagoon’s borders.
“I walk around the Lagoon and I consider it absurd to have a shared path between pedestrians and cyclists, it is overcrowded, there is a high risk of accidents, there are places in which it would be possible to separate them, like in the stretches near the parks.”
Indio da Costa also suggests the implementation of an aquatic transport system in the Lagoon. It would be a circulation system along the banks (without interference from rowers) that would become an alternative link between the districts of Humaitá, Jardim Botânico, Leblon, Ipanema and Copacabana (in the Corte de Cantagalo area).
“City hall is studying an aquatic transport system in Barra. Why not have on in the Lagoon? It’s a sort of central pillar of the South Zone, and could receive boats with a proper, delicate design … It would be a smooth option,” idealizes the architect.