Jorge Mario Jáuregui Architects

Group – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

1994 onwards

Jorge Mario Jáuregui Architects (JMJA) are based in Rio de Janeiro working on public interest projects, in both the 'formal' and 'informal' areas of the city and are best known for their project on the upgrading of Rio's favelas and their integration with the rest of the city. Under Brazil's military dictatorship of the 1970s favelas were demolished and their residents displaced. Since then there have been attempts at upgrading but these have been piecemeal with no clear strategy. In 1994 following Cesar Maia's election as mayor of Rio, the city established a nine year programme called Favela-Bairro, which is the largest squatter settlement upgrading programme in Latin America. JMJA won an open competition to lead the project and in contrast to earlier strategies they advocated a holistic approach to the favelas that builds on the existing and addresses the physical, social and economic aspects.

Translating as 'slum-neighbourhood', the city-run project tries to come up with an integrated solution where each favela is addressed separately by a team of engineers, a sociologist, legal, cultural and communication consultants, led by an architect. This ensures that each proposal is specific to its particular social and geographical conditions. Beyond providing the necessary infrastructure of water, drainage and electricity, this approach also looks to mend the social infrastructure of the area, providing schools, sports centres and community facilities that are grafted into the existing fabric. An important aspect of the projects is land tenure regularisation, the building of new roads for refuse collection and emergency services, and the upgrading of paths. Sometimes controversial ideas are employed, such as bringing tourists into the favelas; in one project JMJA proposed a funicular railway from the beach to the heart of a favela area, where local youths would be employed to act as tourist guides, a project that was eventually implemented.

Whilst the Favela-Bairro project has been criticised by some for not devolving enough power to local groups, it has been a major improvement on previous attempts at such work. JMJA's approach in particular is successful for working within the logic of the favela, recognising that established neighbourhoods have their own organisational and support structures, which should be enhanced and protected whenever possible. One of the notable features of their approach is the requirement that architects and planners involved should have a daily presence in the communities they are working with.

Other Work

Helio Hara, "Brazilian Heatwave: Mr. Jáuregui's Neighborhood [Interview]," Visionaire (August 2001): 16.

Jorge Mario Jáuregui, "The Project as Instrument of the "Urban Machine"," An Architektur, no. 18 (September 2007): 102-103,

---, "Urban and Social Articulation: Megacities, Exclusion and "Worldization"," jauregui.arq,

References About

Architecture for Humanity, ed., "Favela-Bairro Projects," in Design Like You Give a Damn: Architectural Responses to Humanitarian Crises (New York: Metropolis Books, 2006), 216-221.

Jorge Fiore and Kim Thornton, Transforming Cities: Design in the Favelas of Rio De Janeiro (London: Architectural Association, 2001).

Rodolfo Machado, ed., The Favela-Bairro Project: Jorge Mario Jáuregui (Cambridge, MA: Harvard GSD, 2003).

Zoe Ryan, "Metropolitan Park: Jorge Mario Jáuregui," in The Good Life: New Public Spaces for Recreation (New Jersey: Princeton Architectural Press, 2006), 70-71.

Bridgett Shank, "Favela-Bairro project: Jorge Mario Jauregui, Rio de Janiero," Green architecture notes, 2010,


'The right to beauty is as important as the right to drainage. The loud colors are part of the popular heritage - think of Carnival. Colors had been absent due to poverty, people work on the inside, but cannot afford to work on the outside. And when a new, planned building rises in the slum - be it a public toilet or a sewing co-operative - it immediately becomes a monument. It was conceived by an architect, it indicates things are changing: People understand they now have the right to what was only available in the so-called "formal city"[ordinary neighborhoods]. The philosopher Felix Guattari once said that aesthetics are fundamental and revolutionary!'
- Jorge Mario Jáuregui in, Helio Hara, "Brazilian Heatwave: Mr. Jáuregui's Neighborhood [Interview]," Visionaire (August 2001): 16.

'[O]ne of the prior conditions of a project is to know how to ask "the right questions" about the position and context specificities in the intervention area in terms of history, economics, technical and the physical configuration process, as well as about social, cultural and productive relationships. Places should be "well asked".'
- Jorge Mario Jáuregui at,


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