The Floating Archipelago, urban vision of Rio de Janeiro

August 6, 2013

Theme: urban vision
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Date: June 2013
Mission: The fifth international ideas competition launched by CityVision magazine. The purpose of the competition is to provide a vision on Rio de Janeiro’s future
Cliente: Cityvision Magazine
Size: The city of Rio de Janeiro
Team: Dao-Ming Chang, Ilaria Mancini

http://www.cityvisionweb.com/competition/cc2ec/

Sitting on a wooden chair, an old man was telling his young nephew a story about his own town. He wanted to impress the boy so he wrote this fantastic tale as if it were a comic. “Once I received a postcard which portrayed Rio de Janeiro from the top of the Corcovado: the Christ the Redeemer statue overlooked a monumental panorama. Mountains were floating on the water and the city seemed pressed by the surrounding nature. At the back of the postcard, there was a quote by Darwin: «This is the most splendid bay that any European could ever see in their hometowns».

Around 2015 the city became the focus of the world’s attention thanks to many worldwide events and the Olymplic Games. Everyday new infrastructures, houses, commercial centers were built. Favelas expanded towards the mountains and nibbled away what little was left of the rain forest. Everytime it rained the forest rebelled against the city. Torrents of water brought everything that was blocking their way down to the valley. The air was unbreathable: the moutains obstructed the wind to blow the pollution away and a roof of gray fog started to build up above our heads. Rio was almost on the verge of collapse.

I remember very well the moment when everything was twisted. I felt a strong tremble under my feet, everything was shaking. The Pan de Açucar and all the hills around started to detach themselves from the land one after the other and reached for the sky, leaving behind enormous craters inside the city.The day after Rio was completely unrecognizable. The panorama had changed forever.

Today Rio is a city of lagoons and islands, and the green mountains overlook this new archipelago. Big lakes have taken the place of our mountains. Each Rio’s district is on water: people use boats to move from one part to another of the city. We are free to live on new water territory without the problem of land property. The Cariocas found the bright side of this situation. Everyone can enjoy the beautiful panorama of the sea, especially those who were marginalised and blocked by the mountains. The city never stops growing and it is expanding on artificial islands floating on the water, connected with the land through bridges. Our beautiful mountains are still there, but they are too far to reach easily. Nature has been increasingly flourishing and the forest has taken possession of its share of the land. People and nature coexist in a mysterious balance.

The floating mountains still remind me that this is my home town, in a different way, and reminds me what we have lost. Day after day the whole world keeps on changing and one day natural resources will be exhausted. The case of Rio was the first in the world. But what would happen if the exasperated nature on the Earth continues to react this way? Your generation needs to find a way to respond to the voice of the Earth, respecting the landscape and Mother Nature, treating them as a fantastic monument to preserve forever.”