The trouble in finding a word to define this project—already called revitalization, restoration, upgrading, revamping, remodeling, facelifting and renovation—is directly related to the fact that it is not an architectural or urban planning project in the traditional sense. It has even been described as a merely “skin-deep” intervention in a housing estate, a superficial treatment. As if the skin were not an inseparable part of the body, as if it were not a surface vital to the perception of the environment, the first to react to contact and to communicate sensations.
Gelbes Viertel (or “Yellow District”), located in the center of the former East Berlin suburb of Hellersdorf, is a housing estate that is home to 12,000 people in 3,200 apartment flats built with pre-cast concrete components and occupied by white-collar and industrial workers. The decision to create an identity for this complex attracted 56 architecture practices from Latin America to a competition aimed at revitalizing the complex.
In their proposal, which won the competition, Brasil Arquitetura Studio clearly took up the discourse that informed their work, with a discourse based on historic and architectural quotations, on Brazilian culture, in different times and hues, including the ordinary and the vernacular, symbols of renovation and identity. The project was structured on four basic ideas.
SANTOS, Cecília Rodrigues dos – Revitalizing Gelbes Viertel.
In: CALDEIRA, Vasco; FANUCCI, Francisco; FERRAZ, Marcelo; SANTOS, Cecilia Rodrigues dos – Francisco Fanucci, Marcelo Ferraz: Brasil Arquitetura Studio. São Paulo: Cosac Naify, 2005.