De-coding the Architectural Typologies of Rio de Janeiro’s Favelas


The project focuses on the ongoing process of regularisation of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. Indeed, since 1992, Rio’s master plans established that legal codes, regularising and protecting the typicality of the occupation of favelas, had to be developed. However, in practice, this did not materialise, as standard-based norms turned out to be unsuitable to regularise favelas.
Rio’s master plan stated an interdisciplinary problem between the lines, raising the question of what rules mould the type/s of occupation of Rio’s favelas. This problem concerns many urban disciplines like planning, sociology, jurisprudence, but also architecture. Indeed, to explicit the rules that shape favelas, means to de-code the process of their construction as well. Nevertheless, to the knowledge of the author, there is virtually no literature dealing with this problem in the field of architecture. In this sense, this research aims at filling this critical gap.
The objective is to define a rule-based typological analysis. Such analysis is meant to ease the process of legally evaluating the rules that led the process of construction of Rio’s favelas. Specifically, the analysis is expected to make clear the relations within and between the material and social features that inform the typologies of favelas since their emergence. Besides, to define whether they mould morphological and/or typological variations.
By computational means, the project (1) systematises and classifies those variables that notably defines differences among favelas morphologies, (2) analyses the typologies of favelas and turns explicit their rules of construction, by employing shape grammar, (3) validates the outcomes of the analysis by a sample of Rio’s favelas.
To sum up, this project aims at shedding new light on the rarely acknowledged issue of favelas as urban types. This contribution strives to equip all the actors involved in the debate over regularisation with an analytical representation of the socially acknowledged, yet unofficial, rules that have been moulding favelas so far.

Amplified Realities

Files:  abstract, poster, full paper

Fragments from proceedings (‘abstract submission’)’:


This paper sets out the first outline of a research into the relations between signal, control and spatio-temporality — the concrete entanglement of abstract space-time and social reality and of abstract machines and social bodies. More specifically, it seeks to explicate how signal processing technologies and respective abstract models and logic are incorporated into spatial practice, into the production of global networks of so-called ’smart’ cities in particular. Although the implications of electronic media are widely discussed in the current discourses on space, the actual problem of control and the social realities produced by it seem to remain just partially addressed. First, the increasing dependency on signal processing machines and transmission networks, coupled with the decrease in clarity of their inner workings, which is in part inherent in their expanding complexity, may create yet unknown types of normalization and exclusion. Second, signal processing technology significantly modifies our sense of space-time. It allows for seemingly unconfined communication, navigation and localization (which in turn changes habit, perception and lived space-time) but simultaneously enables spatially diffuse or ubiquitous forms of centralized control. Last, the discrepancies between different theoretical and philosophical angles (in broad terms: new materialism and dialectics) seem to distract attention away from the problem of control and its implications. This trans-disciplinary research is situated at the intersection of architecture and sonology. The methodology is to conduct a theoretical study intertwined with research through sono-spatial practice, which primarily focuses on sonic space and the agency of signal. Practice-driven research allows for the concretization of abstract models into spatio-temporal configurations and sonic manifestations (i.e. making them audible by means of sound installations, compositions and spatial designs), interaction with listeners and context as well as thorough engagement with the machine. The theoretical research focuses on two distinct and seemingly incompatible angles that correspond to the aforementioned discrepancies. On the one hand, it explores the technicity of signal processing. For example, how these technologies operate, convolute and develop over time. On the other hand, it critically analyzes how these technologies and techniques are incorporated into the production of space, into politico-economic practices and architectures of control.

us signal processing technologies; architectures of control; spatial practice; abstract machine; spatio-temporality