Rio de Janeiro architect and urban planner Washington Fajardo has been named by the Bienal de São Paulo Foundation as curator of the Brazilian Pavilion at Venice Biennale 2016. Fajardo is president of the Rio World Heritage Institute (Instituto Rio Patrimônio da Humanidade) and the Municipal Council of Cultural Heritage Protection (Conselho Municipal de Proteção do Patrimônio), as well as special advisor to Mayor Eduardo Paes on urban planning issues.
From the Foundation: Fajardo has worked with projects linked to urban issues throughout his professional career and he has been part of the Rio de Janeiro City government since 2009, first as undersecretary of Cultural Heritage, Urban Planning, Architecture and Design and then as president of the IRPH, from 2012 on. The municipal agency is responsible for caring for cultural, historic and urban aspects of the city, which was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2012 in the category of Urban Cultural Landscape.
As a researcher in the Post Graduate Program for Urban Planning (Prourb) at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Fajardo studied city planning projects and initiatives for structuring physical space in the major port regions around the world. He was part of the winning team at the National Competition for the revitalization of the Ver-o-Peso Market in Belém, Pará in 1999. He also won first place in the international competition for reconversion project of the Gasômetro in the Rio de Janeiro Port Region in the year 2000.
Fajardo is also the author of the architectural concept of Arenas Cariocas – an initiative of the City of Rio de Janeiro to bring culture and entertainment to the outer city regions – and the revitalization of the “New" Imperator – Centro Cultural João Nogueira in Méier.
As head of municipal heritage, Fajardo was the author of the mechanism that dedicated 3% of the value of the Certificates of Additional Construction Potential (CEPACs) of the urban initiative known as Porto Maravilha [“Marvelous Port”] to the recuperation of the cultural heritage of the port region. He also created the public call Pro-APAC (Areas of Cultural Environment Protection) to directly foment the restoration of private real estate, which won the Rodrigo Melo Franco de Andrade Award from the Instituto de Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional [“National Institute of Historical and Artistic Heritage”] (IPHAN) in 2014. Fajardo also created the Centro Carioca de Design [“Carioca Center of Design”] and the public call known as Pro-Design. Located at Praça Tiradentes and inaugurated in 2010, the space is a nucleus for discussion, exhibition and thought in the field of design, as well as cultural expression, containing exhibition galleries and integrated, multifunctional spaces for conferences, meetings, workshops, exhibitions and various activities. Another of Fajardo's initiatives for this space was to bring an affiliate of Studio-X of Columbia University (USA), a laboratory dedicated to studies of contemporary urban conditions.
In the Rio city center, he was responsible for the re-qualification of Praça Tiradentes, with the removal of the railings, concluding the program Monumenta / BID (the Inter-American Development Bank) created for the area, which today has been converted into a vigorous urban cluster dedicated to design, reclaiming the place's historical central nature.