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Competition: Belo Horizonte installations, Brazil

An open international contest has been announced for a series of contextual R$20,000 installations in the Buritis neighbourhood of Belo Horizonte, Brazil (Deadline: 22 January)

The anonymous competition seeks site-specific concepts to occupy a number of exposed stilt structures used to prop up buildings within the suburban hill-top district. It is open to architects, artists, landscape architects, designers and set designers.

The ‘Other Territories’ call for concepts – supported by Banco Mercantil do Brasil, City Hall of Belo Horizonte and the Institute of Architects of Brazil – focuses on 10 separate sites within Buritis. The winning temporary schemes will feature in an exhibition and be put forward for construction as part of a proposed arts festival.

Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Belo Horizonte, Brazil

According to the brief: ‘Outros Territórios is a suite of ephemeral interventions proposed for a hilly neighbourhood in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, called Buritis. The plan envisages an instantaneous transformation of the landscape through the simultaneous occupation of the many stilt systems propping up the hillside buildings.

‘The array of forgotten spaces, ignored for their unsightly strangeness, will be infused with city life through an event that posits an open field of study: the latent possibilities in the existing city. This will be an opportunity to test new ideas, exchange experiences and awaken sensibilities; a way of showing that modest interventions with limited resources can generate lasting change and become instruments through which to devise alternative solutions for the urban re-composition of such a frayed urban fabric as Belo Horizonte’s.’

Belo Horizonte is the capital of the state of Minas Gerais and the third largest city in Brazil. Founded in the early 20th century, the city was planned around rapid industrial and residential expansion and features a neighbourhood designed by Oscar Niemeyer.

Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Buritis is a wealthy suburb of Belo Horizonte featuring a large number of high-rise buildings built in the late 1980s. The free-to-enter competition focuses on the cavernous unused stilt spaces propping up many local buildings.

Proposals must respond to these enormous understructures which support residential buildings above, reactivate the inaccessible spaces and generate new artistic connections within the wider Buritis neighbourhood.

Submissions should feature up to 10 A3 boards with text in either English or Portuguese. Judges include Davide Sacconi, a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art in London.

The winning schemes – to be announced on 29 January – will feature in an exhibition inside the Viaduto das Artes gallery which occupies the land beneath a pair of overpasses in Barreiro, Belo Horizonte.

A selection of the winning schemes will then be installed as part of an arts festival which will be subject to successful fundraising by the competition organisers.

How to apply


The deadline for applications is 22 January

Contact details

Visit the competition website for more information

Q&A with Carlos M Teixeira

The architect at competition-organiser Vazio discusses his ambitions for the project

Carlos M Teixeira

Carlos M Teixeira

Carlos M Teixeira

Why are your holding a competition for a series of installations in Belo Horizonte, Brazil?

The contest was organised by my office, Vazio S/A, and two other partners. It has the institutional support of the City Hall of Belo Horizonte and the Brazilian Institute of Architects. We are not a non-profit organization. We are an architecture office that works just like any other, but that understands the limitations of practice and the possibilities of less self-centred projects.

What is your vision for the thought-provoking installations?

The proposals will be selected by a multidisciplinary jury that includes curators of architecture, art and design; as well as a representative of the Buritis neighbourhood association, the site of the interventions. The locations vary greatly in size, going from 150m² to 1300m² and, in principle, there are no pre-established conditions or rules.

The interventions can take any form so long as they are feasible and explore the potentialities/difficulties of the stilt structures in question. According to the brief, ‘by intervention the call understands any work that addresses the specific characteristics of the sites in order to question and problematise its aesthetic and conceptual dimensions, resulting in a stance taken on the chosen theme and/or intervention context.’

What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?

We expect to receive proposals from architects and other cultural agents, either recognised or emerging, established or newly formed. It is not necessary to associate with Brazilian architects to participate in the call.

Which other design opportunities are on the horizon and how will the architects/designers be procured?

The selected proposals will be presented at an exhibition at Viaduto das Artes (, a novel and instigating cultural venue installed under a pair of overpasses in Barreiro, Belo Horizonte, and totally aligned with the overall concept of Other Territories, namely to explore possible ways of activating these lacunas left by urban infrastructures.

Later, these proposals will be discussed with residents associations and potential festival sponsors so that they can come to fruition during Phase II, the Other Territories Cultural Festival, which we hope to host towards the end of the first semester of 2019, providing we can raise the necessary funding through Federal, State and other Cultural Incentive laws and wider sponsorship agreements.

We launch this call for projects safe in the knowledge that we have the neighbourhood’s backing and expressive interest from the sponsors already contacted. We are optimistic about, and encouraged by, the festival’s chances of success and the very real prospect of the getting the selected proposals off the drawing board, so they can effectively transform these vacant spaces.

Are there any other innovative installation projects you have been impressed by?

Yes, there are many. But we prefer not to mention any reference project since the purpose of the call is to provoke a fresh platform for discussion. Anyway, we (Vazio S/A) are not a jury member.

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