Rio Center Stories: Pedro Rivera, Architect and GSAPP Professor

We had the pleasure to talk with professor Pedro Rivera. His work flows between design and research, with concentration in the relations among architecture, art and urban inequality. 

Leticia Katz
February 11, 2020

***This interview was conducted on February 5th. At that time, the COVID-19 situtation was still under control. Althought no Columbia student, faculty, or staff has been diagnosed with the disease, all Columbia business travel, both international and domestic, is now suspended for all affiliates due to the outbreak of the COVID-19. Pedro Rivera had a trip with his 12 students to the Amazon planned for March, but it had to be canceled for now, as a prevention measure.


CGC Rio - Can you tell us a little about your professional journey?

I graduated at UFRJ in 1997, when I moved to Belém do Pará, after my team won the competition for the requalification of the Ver-o-Peso Market. In 2008, I set up RUA Arquitetos, my current office, with Pedro Évora. With more than twenty years of experience, I have developed various projects ranging from urbanization and cultural facilities in favelas to art galleries and the headquarters of the Olympic golf course. I had work exhibited at MoMA, at the Carnegie Museum of Arts and at MAK, in Vienna, among others, and in the main architecture biennials in the world. Between 2010 and 2017, I was responsible for the implementation and directed Studio-X Rio, an initiative of GSAPP that became the main cultural center dedicated to the city's architecture and urbanism. In 2019, I became part of the GSAPP faculty as Adjunct Assistant Faculty. 


CGC Rio - We know you're coming this month to the Amazon with a group of 12 students, and you'll travel to some small villages in order to conclude their undergraduate final projects  "Amazonia after Fitzcarraldo". Why is it so important to bring students to Brazil, and get them closer to our current climate situation, specially in Amazônia? ***

The Amazon has been threatened by the dismantling of institutions that should care for it, due to a greedy, outdated and inefficient developmental vision. The Amazon and its people are victims of brutal violence. This is a critical topic of global relevance and students' work will reflect on this. Besides having American students, there are students from China, Canada, India, Austria, Italy, and Saudi Arabia.

(Pedro promised us to send a picture after the trip to the Amazon, and we can't wait to see it)

CGC Rio - How did Columbia Global Centers | Rio de Janeiro impact your life? 

As a former director of Studio-X Rio, I have always been very close to the CGC team because they are “sister” institutions. The CGC has a fundamental role in establishing international channels for the exchange of knowledge and innovation that has benefited a significant number of people and organizations, with concrete impacts in fields such as education.


 *** As it was mentioned at the beginning of this article, this trip was postponed as a preventive measure. We are waiting for a new date, and hoping this stituation gets settled soon.