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METAMUSEUM: Analysis of Lebbeus Woods’ work as basis for proposing the Workers’ Museum in Recife’s oldest neighborhood (B.Arch Thesis)
(Author: Pedro Arruda / Advisor: Ana Rolim

Lebbeus Woods’ work is revisited particularly his use of hand drawings to connect architecture’s theoretical with practical realms. This provides the conceptual basis for intervening in the Union of Sugar and Alcohol of the State of Pernambuco (SindAçúcar), a terminal dedicated to storing sugar.


Understanding these as interpretative tools for site analysis and its adaptive reuse into a museum honoring Brazilian workers, six typologies are identified in Woods’ work: high-house (buildings that reclaim the city’s airspace); bubble (building like tents, submissive to wind, free and capable of wandering); subterranean (city-like structure with its own connections, joints and inhabitants); scar (it re-signifies a building’s physical wound by exposing the fragments of history, while transforming it for a future of overcoming); monolithic (wall-like form containing the necessary infrastructure system that a city needs) and experimental space (it manifests through light, sound, shape manipulation, solids and voids, distancing from the issue of function).


The museum materializes the history of labor in Brazil from a narrative that highlights violence, strength, and the notion of time, claiming that the country still needs to better understand its own wounds. The scar typology manifests itself in the formal manipulation of the existing structure, which now marks the city’s historical landscape.

Overall view from Northeast

Site plan

The sugar cane culture depicted in Brazilian art and its historic presence at the project's site

Overall view of existing building which houses the Union of Sugar and Alcohol of the State of Pernambuco (SindAçúcar)

The industrial structures are expressive, marking its presence in the city skyline

View towards main entrance

The typologies identified in Lebbeus Woods' work: high-house; bubble; subterranean; scar; monolithic and experimental space

The narrative of the architectural parti

View from North

Main entrance on ground floor

View from access towards exhibition spaces

New volumes are integrated into the existing structure

The functional rooms: auditorium and projection rooms

View from East elevation

Detail of exhibition space

Temporary (right) and permanent (left) exhibition spaces

The dialogue between existing and new structures

Sensory exhibition space

Service entrance on ground floor

View from main access

Museum's technical spaces, such as collection and administration

Building longitudinal section and details

Overall view from Northeast

Overall interior view at sunset

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