Our project for the gymnasium “Arena do Morro” is the first project that has been realised within the wider urban proposal “A vision for Mãe Luiza”, which we developed together with the Centro Sócio Pastoral Nossa Senhora de Conceição in 2009. Mãe Luiza is not a typical “Favela” - its identity and character have been formed both by the unique natural setting and the creativity of the people of this strong community. Mãe Luiza is nestled between the protected natural zone of the dunes of Natal and the commercially developed oceanfront. Our urban study identifies the missing and underdeveloped urban activities in the neighbourhood, traces available space within the densely built fabric, and distributes new activities within the areas potentially available for development. The proposal includes a spine (passarela) of new buildings and interventions that will form a sequence of public activities perpendicular to the main street of Mãe Luiza and extending all the way to the ocean. The pioneering architectural project within this proposal is the gymnasium, containing a sports field with tiered seating for 420 people, multipurpose rooms for dance and education, a terrace with ocean views, as well as changing rooms and public restrooms.
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