A design firm that creates enduring places

1 of 3_botany.jpg

Valongo Wharf

A space for the performance of Afro-Brazilian identity


Valongo Wharf

City of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Sara Zewde, Landscape Design
Instituto Rio Patrimônio da Humanidade, Architect of Record

Concept Design - Design Development

In 2010, construction crews in downtown Rio de Janeiro discovered the ruins of the Valongo Wharf, arguably the busiest Trans-Atlantic slave port in the Americas and the most significant material evidence of this history. Sara Zewde’s memorial design breaks from the tradition of a discrete, object-oriented memorial, proposing instead a constellation of public spaces that highlight Afro-Brazilian cultural memory in the everyday life of the City. Working with the Mayor’s Office of Rio de Janeiro, Zewde’s design process began with an extensive research process, documenting the extent of the industry of slavery in the neighborhood.

Zewde then identified a constellation of sites the memorial design could act upon, resulting in 8 design proposals that the City could include in their re-development plan. Each public space design frames a space for the performance of Afro-Brazilian identity.