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LGBTQ CENTER IN DOWNTOWN RECIFE - B.Arch Final Thesis

(Author: Ana Amélia Almeida / Advisor: Ana Rolim)

If architecture is a cultural product capable to either include or exclude people, the proposal for a LGBTQ center in Recife, Brazil, a city affected by hate crimes against the LGBTQ population, aims to create a space of inclusion for this community. It speculates on concepts of fragment and collage (Montaner, 2009; Rowe, 1978) by subverting building types and manipulating these through sectioning operations (Lewis et al, 2016).

 

Still considered a crime in several countries, we witness alarming rates of violence against homosexuality globally. In Brazil more than 1.6K people were killed in the past five years due to gender identity or sexual orientation issues. We argue that architecture is capable of generating spaces that can attenuate conflicts relating to controversial socio-cultural situations.

 

The proposed design process follows four main steps: (1) Studying the site’s morpho-typological characteristics; (2) Analyzing recurrent building types to identify their predominant section profiles; (3) Performing sectional operations to hybridize such types; and (4) Relating these hybridized sections to fragment and collages strategies. Strategically located, the site is accessible by all means of transportation, and surrounded by a shopping mall and bars often used by the LGBTQ population, as well as important city landmarks.

 

Strengthening the building’s identity, each building type was associated to a programmatic component, and then linked to a specific color. The building evolves in four levels with a diverse program, varying from highly active spaces at street level, including stores and a public plaza, to temporary and longer term housing, healthcare and psychotherapy support, exhibition, multifunction and educational spaces.

 

Understanding subversive spaces as those challenging compulsory heteronormativity and an anti-diversity linear design, the idea was to incorporate more accepting, hybrid types towards a building that better responded to the undeniable diversity of built structures and people inhabiting contemporary cities. This project represented the school in the Archiprix International competition of B.Arch graduation thesis as featured on the Archiprix webpage.

View from Southeast corner

The design is based on reinterpreting local building typologies and hybridizing them

Physical model facing South

Ground floor plan with three courtyards defined by an existing tree and adjacent backyards

View from Southwest corner

Isometric views of floor plans

View from sidewalk with space for street vendors incorporated to the building and housing balconies above

Ground level commercial spaces are in synch with the site and generate revenue for maintaining the Center.

Longitudinal building section

A public space for manifestations and cultural events is at the core of the building

The building is open and welcoming, assuring the presence of the LGBTQ center in the heart of the city

View from the lobby of the medical and psychological center

View towards main courtyard

View from bridge across the central courtyard

View from 1st floor with art gallery in the back

Art gallery space

View from courtyard on the upper floor cultural area and existing tree at right

Balcony in the residential units facing the street, similar to the surrounding townhouse typology

View from the rooftop where people could meet and appreciate city views

 by Ana Rolim.