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Panorama Paquetá

Circular strategy and a heritage-based architectural design for Ilha de Paquetá, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2019)

The project elaborates on a a larger circular strategy for the whole island, combined with heritage based placemaking through architectural design.

Located in the polluted bay of Rio de Janeiro, the island’s beautiful beaches have turned into waste absorbers.

Past (around 1970)

Present (2018)

Paquetá’s residents are proud on the rich history and culture of the place, but are also concerned about the pollution.

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A Material Flow Analysis (MFA) for energy, water and materials was constructed to reveal Paquetá’s current metabolism and the potential for system-level interventions that make the island function more sustainably.

Just like most other islands, Paquetá heavily relies on imports of food, energy, and construction materials.

Paquetá is a very popular holiday destination for Rio’s residents.
This has a positive effect on the local economy, but simultaneously contributes to the pollution.

Circular strategy: 2030 scenario

The 2030 scenario includes six main areas of intervention, energy-, water- and material-related. These are implemented step-by-step, taking into account current initiatives and partially accommodated by the designed beach pool:

Architectural design: beach pool

A beach pool regenerates the polluted surface water and stimulates small-scale tourism. It forms an alternative for the Guanabara bay water, that has become too dirty to swim in.

The beach pool accommodates different functions, resulting in a sustainable metabolism by integrating energy, water and material flows. Organic waste and polluted surface water are the inputs that are converted into clean water, electricity and fertilizers as the clean and useful outputs.

paqueta southside_location indication

On the location, the remains of a former horse stable are remained and integrated in the design for a community-based beach pool.

Polluted surface water is pumped up the hill, cleaned by helophyte filters and utilized in the pool.

Water system
The surface water is pumped up the hill, from where it flows down via settlement tanks and helophyte filters, before it ends up in the pool.

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The heritage-based building design gives new meaning to a forgotten place on the island.

Small shops, bars, a community kitchen and a small cinema provide economic opportunities and things to do for both residents and tourists.

Other pergolas on Paquetá, designed in the tradition of painter and landscape architect Pedro Bruno (1888-1949).


A short film shows the beauty and limitations of Ilha de Paquetá, including interviews with residents.

Full research and design report

The full report is also available for download on the repository of the TU Delft.

Project details

Graduation project
TU Delft, Faculty of Architecture, Netherlands

February 2018 – January 2019

Ilha de Paquetá, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil