Page D3.2 . 27 July 2005                     
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    Brazilian Communications


    A new street opened on the west side of the site, providing a setting for the remodeled building's main entrance. This is a glass element that provides a "hinge" between the older brick construction and the new, angular metallic. The glass motif continues inside, in a grand staircase with a louvered skylight above.

    The lobby at the new entrance hosts social events and displays technological products. Temporary exhibits are housed on the second level (slightly higher than the first), with museum administration on the third. Long-term exhibits portraying the history of telecommunications are on levels four through six. A flexible, multipurpose theater is located on the seventh level, and on the eighth is a cyber cafe with an ocean-view terrace.

    Theory of Materializing Communication

    The architects describe their concept for the 32,000-square-foot (3,000-square-meter) building as a dialog between the new and the old, with the space between the two sections generating a "harmonic dialog among the different parts."

    "The abstract representation of the communication theme was one of the goals of the project," the architects have written. "When we think about what communication is, we instinctively visualize images such as telephone wires, great mainframe servers, or satellites. The selection of one of these images reveals that the scope of the communication is more abstract. It is not an object, nor does it happen in one definite place, but it is formed in the physical absence of something. Thus thinking, we conclude that communication happens in the nonexistence of a physical space."

    But how to define a nonexistent space? They explain: "Architecture's goal, without a doubt, is to create a real and concrete space that is defined by its physical limits. In order to materialize this idea, there was a proposal for the creation of a virtual limit, existent or nonexistent, invisible or out of focus, which can transmit the absence of itself, through its own lack of definition."

    One of their strategies was to create an overlapping mesh of the two grids, forming a collision between the orthogonal structure of the old building and the angles of the new construction.

    Spatial Organization

    To improve accessibility, the architects abandoned the former north entrance, which required stairs, and replaced it with a main entrance on the new side street. The new glazed entry, with no level changes, reinforces the concepts of accessibility and continuity between interior and exterior spaces. The historic museum entrance has been converted to a space for advertising future exhibits.

    On the south facade is a concrete fire stair, separated from the wall by a large panel assembled from wood and glass. On each floor, the fire stair presents a metal see-through platform with a view to the back street. A loading area and employee entrance are also on the south elevation.

    The "hinge" between old and the new construction is a glass-enclosed, skylit space for circulation. Interior stairs and elevators provide access to the exhibit areas and to the private offices, which are located on alternating floors.

    The landings are of metal, and the treads and handrails are of glass, further enhancing the play of light throughout the circulation core. The elevator is also fully glazed, giving interior views of the museum to passengers.

    Indeed, from anywhere in this central space, it is possible to see all floors, for help with orientation. The stairs are a strong component of the project's intended architectural harmonizing.   >>>

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    ArchWeek Image

    The Telecommunications Museum by Oficina de Arquitetos, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with its historic north facade.
    Photo: Oficina Arquitetos

    ArchWeek Image

    The glazed main entry on the west elevation.
    Photo: Alexandre Lobo

    ArchWeek Image

    Building section, looking east.
    Image: Oficina Arquitetos

    ArchWeek Image

    Site plan, Telecommunications Museum, Rio de Janeiro.
    Image: Oficina Arquitetos

    ArchWeek Image

    Floor Plan, levels 1 and 2.
    Image: Oficina Arquitetos

    ArchWeek Image

    Floor plan, levels 3 and 4.
    Image: Oficina Arquitetos

    ArchWeek Image

    Floor plan, levels 5 and 6.
    Image: Oficina Arquitetos

    ArchWeek Image

    Floor plan, levels 7 and 8.
    Image: Oficina Arquitetos


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