CRA - Carlo Ratti Associati has unveiled a major extension for Brazilia, reinterpreting “Lúcio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer’s modernist master plan for Biotic - a high-tech innovation district immersed in nature”. Developed in collaboration with Ernst&Young, the project that started in 2018 reimagines primarily the superblocks.
Promoting public space through the implementation of climate bioremediation, CRA is introducing outdoor working and gathering areas. Developed in collaboration with EY, for Terracap, Brasilia’s primary real estate company, the master plan named BIOTIC is a 1-million square meter technology and innovation district in Brasilia, featuring residences, offices, plazas, and parks.
Located on the hinge point between Lúcio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer’s UNESCO World Heritage “Plano Piloto” and the Brasilia National Park, the extension was inspired by the historical master plan and will engage with the modernist heritage of the capital. Proposing the concept of “domesticating nature”, the project creates “a new hybrid environment aimed towards both social and environmental sustainability”, mixing the four urban scales in a “human way”.
The first time I visited Brasilia, a friend and long-time city resident told me a long-standing joke: ‘You know what the problem of Brasilia is? The district of cafés is far away from the district of sugar.’ In short, a key issue lies with the lack of mixed-use and with the strictly functional subdivision of the city according to modernist principles – which we are aiming to overcome with our plan. -- Carlo Ratti, founding partner at CRA and director of the Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Drawing inspiration from Barcelona, Brasilia’s Superquadra or superblock “are subdivided into pedestrian blocks with street fronts”. In fact, reprogramming street level will allow the protection of internal neighborhoods from traffic and pollution and strengthen pedestrian spaces for social cohesion; as well as generate streets and vibrant plazas open to social activities. Moreover, “the natural scale is highlighted through a green corridor that connects the nearby Cerrado to the BIOTIC site”.In addition, CRA’s plan focuses on innovative mobility, by allowing only self-driving and shared vehicles to access internal streets and roads. Actually, various positive changes like improved traffic, lower carbon footprint, and new business opportunities are expected to come with the spread of autonomous cars.
Building on Brasilia’s year-round mild climate, the project also seeks to introduce the Outdoor Office environment. In fact, “using digital technologies to manage sunlight, wind, and temperature, BIOTIC offers its occupants the chance to work in close contact with nature, which is scattered around plazas, pedestrian areas, shared vegetable gardens, laboratories, and retail facilities. People can seamlessly move between public and private, open and secluded areas”.
The office buildings, hovering above the ground level, are designed for sun and wind to come in. Thanks to a system of openable wooden facades that can slide along the building like a curtain, the interior spaces will open to the exterior, allowing users to enjoy Brasilia’s weather. This project merges the interior and exterior into one space. -- James Schrader, project manager at CRA.
- A master plan project by CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati, developed in collaboration with Ernst&Young
- Client: TerraCap
- Year of development: 2017-2020
- CRA Team: Carlo Ratti, James Schrader (Project manager), Rui Guan, Federico Riches, Chenyu Xu, Stephanie Lee, Pietro Franceschini, Ben Johnson
- CRA Graphic Team: Gary di Silvio, Pasquale Milieri, Gianluca Zimbardi
- Mobility consultancy: MIC - Mobility in Chain
- Sustainability strategy: LAND
- Engineering consultancy: Ai Engineering