Rio Center Stories: Pedro Rivera, Architect and GSAPP Professor

We had the pleasure to talk with Pedro Rivera, Architect and GSAPP Professor. Pedro Rivera is an architect and urbanist whose work flows between design and research, with concentration in the relations among architecture, art and urban inequality. 

Leticia Katz
February 11, 2020

Pedro Rivera is an architect and urbanist whose work flows between design and research, with concentration in the relations among architecture, art and urban inequality. He is a co-founder of RUA Arquitetos, in Rio de Janeiro, and was director and curator at GSAPP’s Studio-X Rio from 2011-17, which became the city’s most relevant venue dedicated to architecture. Rivera had works exhibited at MoMA (New York, 2014), MAK (Wien, 2015), Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh, 2016), Het Nieuwe Instituut (Rotterdam, 2016) and MAM São Paulo (2017); as well as in the architecture biennials of Hong Kong / Shenzen (2014), Chicago (2015), Venice (2016) and São Paulo (2017). Rivera holds a Master in Urbanism at Rio de Janeiro Federal University and he's a Professor at GSAPP. He was an assistant professor at Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (2010-13). He is a constant presence as a critic and lecturer in several international institutions, ETH Zurich, Princeton, Nieuwe Instituut, among others.

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 - Next month, you'll come to Amazônia 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.