Herzog & de Meuron Basel Ltd.
4056 Basel, Switzerland
MÃE LUIZA, BRAZIL, May 11, 2023 – Since 2009, Herzog & de Meuron has been part of an international network of solidarity and support for Mãe Luiza, Brazil, in collaboration with Centro Sócio and the Ameropa Foundation. From May 3rd to 5th in Mãe Luiza, Centro Sócio and Ameropa Foundation celebrated forty years of Centro Sócio, a period which witnessed the neighborhood transformation into a vibrant and integrated community. To record this work, a publication entitled ‘Mãe Luiza: Building Optimism’ was published in English and German (Lars Müller, 2021), and recently in Portuguese (Gryphus Editora, 2022). The book includes an explanation of the role and impact of H&dM’s Arena do Morro gymnasium project and features a conversation with Jacques Herzog and Ascan Mergenthaler.
On May 5th, as part of the celebration, the Portuguese edition was launched in the Arena do Morro in the presence of all the editors, and of Paulo Lins, the author of the short fiction ‘Creating a New Sun’, written especially for the book.
In addition, Tomislav Dushanov, associate-in-charge of the Arena do Morro, presented ‘The Participatory Process in the Construction of the Arena do Morro Gymnasium’, focusing on lessons learned from the design, construction and use of the building, and the diverse ways the local community has been involved in planning, programming and design decisions. This was done as part of the launch of an architectural competition for a social project for a Community Center in Felipe Camarão neighborhood nearby. The project would follow the development model for social infrastructure, established by the Arena do Morro.
Herzog & de Meuron’s collaboration with the overall social project started in 2009, with the ‘Vision for Mãe Luiza’ — an urban study and proposal for a series of interventions and projects for the neighborhood, with a strong civic and social aspect, reflecting what is perceived as missing and needed in the area of Mãe Luiza . In 2014, the first project from the Vision was inaugurated — Arena do Morro — a multipurpose sports and cultural hall beside the local school. In 2015-16, the Green Street (Rua Verde), another project from the Vision created a green backbone for the neighborhood and was initiated and developed by the municipality and the local people. In 2018, a Music School was opened in Mãe Luiza, supported by a donation from H&dM for instruments.