Cidade Das Artes / Christian de Portzamparc

  • 06 Dec 2013
  • Cultural Selected Works Theater
© Nelson Kon

Architects: Christian de Portzamparc
Location: Rio de Janeiro,
Area: 46000.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Nelson Kon, Courtesy of

Acoustics: Xu Acoustique – Xu Ya Ying, Acùstica & sônica
Scenography: Changement à Vue – Jacques Dubreuil, Ze Augusto Nepomucen
Landscape Designer: CAP, Fernando Chancel

© Nelson Kon

From the architect. The Cidade das Artes is situated between sea and mountain, in the center of fourteen kilometers of plain which saw recently developing the new major district of Rio de Janeiro: Barra da Tijuca. The landscape is monotonous, deprived of strong urban marks and public spaces. The site is structured by two highways that cross the district. In the centre of this cross, designed by Lucio Costa, the Cidade das Artes will be in the very heart of the new city.


The building is a little city contained in one big structure raised and established on a vast terrace ten meters above ground, from which one will see the mountain and the sea, floating upon, a public park, a tropical and aquatic garden, draw by Fernando Chacel. 

© Nelson Kon

This terrace is the public space; it is the gathering place that gives access to all facilities. There, Cidade das Artes will gather a large variety of places: a concert room, worldwide unique, because convertible in room of opera and in theatre, a room of chamber music and popular music, movie theatres, dance studios, numerous rehearsal rooms, exhibition spaces, restaurants, a media library. 

© Nelson Kon

The Cidade das Artes is seen as a large house, a great veranda above the city, homage to an archetype of Brazilian architecture.

© Nelson Kon

Between the two horizontal plates of the roof and the terrace are set the large curved concrete walls that contain the halls in an interplay of volumes and voids. The project is a public symbol, a new landmark in the greater Rio area, an urban signal, floating on the plain with a large visibility. 

© Nelson Kon

The architecture echoes the beautiful curves of the Siera Atlantica Mountains and the line of the sea.The place will become, for the travellers of the train which will arrive on Ayrton Senna Avenue, the front door in Barra da Tijuca.

Floor Plan
* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Cidade Das Artes / Christian de Portzamparc" 06 Dec 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 26 May 2015. <>
  • Tim

    The architect’s statement here is eloquent, clear, and descriptive–only minimally distorted by the difficulties of translation. I appreciate the sculptural, seemingly free flowing forms that appear to efficiently surround the intended functions. All of this is set off nicely by the crisp hard edge effect of the roof and plaza plates. Some might react that the punctuations and variations on the exterior are a bit diverse, as if, perhaps, a single “motif” could have been chosen. By the way, this is my first comment on this excellent site, though I have been viewing for about a month.

  • Laszlo Kovacs

    another brilliant project by portzamparc. people always say he didn’t deserve the pritzker, but I’ve always thought his work was consistently amazing. He has a special talent for sculptural forms without becoming grotesque.

  • kemal kibar

    There is no doubt that this is the work of a great form giver and space maker. But isnt it intentionally made a bit too intricate, with all those structural surprises and material abundance? To give it an all too new appearence, and to escape from the post corbusian cliches? It took from the purity of both form and space, however.