MOPI elementary school is located in an urban but very green area of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It’s main façade faces a busy avenue that connects Rio´ s west and north zones. The opposite side of the building overlooks a national   forest park with mountains, preceded by single family houses and lots of vegetation.

Project Name: MOPI School
Studio Name: Mareines Arquitetura + Patalano Arquitetura
Design Team: Ivo Mareines, Rafael Patalano e Flavia Lima
Site Area: 5330 m²
Area: 5.610 m²
Year Phase 1: 2009
Year Phase 2: 2010
Year Phase 3: 2015
Location: Itanhangá, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Consultants: Kremer Engenharia, Ana Moraes, Marita Adania
Photography Credits: Leonardo Finotti

MOPI School by Mareines Arquitetura + Patalano Arquitetura - Sheet2
©Leonardo Finotti

The building was conceived as   four separeted volumes connected by open balconies and derived from a “U” shaped whole open towards   the forest. The two elliptycal volumes that faces the avenue contain the main classrooms, while the other two water drops shaped volumes contains secondary spaces such as administration, pedagogic room, art, library , computer classroom and so on. The whole building being split into four distinct volumes facilitates cross air circulation that provides passive cooling while marking very clearly the use purpose of each one.

MOPI School by Mareines Arquitetura + Patalano Arquitetura - Sheet3
©Leonardo Finotti

All levels are connected via 8% inclined ramps, to allow the inclusion of disabled students or professors. As ramps consumes a lot of space in plan to go from one level to the next, mid-levels   were adopted. The top  floor of the school, yet to be completed, will be a roof garden with grass and small trees overlooking the mountains with recreational and pedagogical purposes.  Translucent channel glass encloses most of the classrooms, flooding it with light without distracting the students.

MOPI School by Mareines Arquitetura + Patalano Arquitetura - Sheet4
©Leonardo Finotti

The main façade evokes the forest, it is an abstraction of a tree. It is composed of micro perforated pre-oxidized copper panels attached to   laminated wood beams, which are then attached to the concrete structure of the building. The wood used in these beams are  a fast growing renewable material source, and it’s species (eucalyptus) are planted specifically to be harvested. Other environmental solutions  adopted in Mopi want to achieve   not only  the sustainability of this building, but also the ecological sensibilization  of the students such as: Storage and reuse of rain water, solar heaters for  water, two  phases toilet flushes, Taps with timers, and recycled materials like the rubber tiles  on the ground floor.

MOPI School by Mareines Arquitetura + Patalano Arquitetura - Sheet6
©Leonardo Finotti

The micro perforation of the copper allows the passage of air while blocking rain water. It also gives the school a very lively aspect since it plays with transparency and opacity. During the day it looks opaque from the outside and semi transparent from inside. The green color dominates the façade. At night, it becomes semi transparent, letting movements and colors shine trough, making it come alive.

Mareines Arquitetura

We are all Architecture enthusiasts

Mareines Arquitetura is an Architecture and Urbanism studio that aims to find an innovative response to each project. Our projects are always faced as a challenge, running away from pre-established recipes and the repetition of our own solutions.

New answers to new questions.

We are in tune with the technology, design and poetics of our time. Our studio’s work has been published by mediums of information all around the globe due to the aesthetic quality and the concern in each of our projects with a more sustainable and well-balanced society.

A dinamyc duo

We may lead the agency as a dynamic duo, we would be nothing without the passion and efforts of our highly dedicated team.

Ivo Mareines

Mareines graduated in architecture and urbanism in São Paulo in the early 80’s and in 1995 did a Masters in Philosophy in Rio de Janeiro.

During the 80’s and 90’s he developed independent projects mainly in the cultural area. He also showed his work as a visual artist at MIS (Museum of Image and Sound) in São Paulo, at MAM (Museum of Modern Art) in Rio de Janeiro and at the São Paulo International Biennial.

From 2001 to 2016, he was the founding partner of the Mareines+Patalano Architecture firm in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Matthieu Van Beneden

Having graduated in Architecture and Urbanism in Brussels, Belgium, in 2011, he interned at Mareines+Patalano Architecture as part of an exchange program in 2009.

In late 2011 he goes to Brazil once again and starts working as an architect. He participates in important projects such as the Residence in the Dominican Republic, the Museu do Mar [Ocean Museum] in Santa Cruz de Cabrália and the Resorts in the Amazon and in northeastern Brazil.

In 2017 he makes partner at Mareines Arquitetura, as an important piece of the firm’s internationalization process. As a Belgian and honorary carioca, Matthieu perfectly combines the European sense of tradition with the brightness and freedom of Rio de Janeiro.

Honors & Awards

2009 – The Best in Architecture 2009 – GLEM offices (in the offices category).
2010 – Wallpaper magazine, in its June 2010 issue, lists MAREINES+PATALANO as one of the ten most important new Brazilian architecture firms.
2010 – AU magazine selects MAREINES+PATALANO in its 25th anniversary issue as one of the 25 Brazilian firms that will make history.
2013 – The Best in Architecture 2013 – Rexam Beverage Can (in the offices category).
2015 – DesignBoom elects MOPI as one of the ten most important educational projects in the world that year.
2015 – ASBEA-RJ (Brazilian Association of Architecture Firms in Rio de Janeiro) elects the hotel project Ilha do Capítulo as the best hotel project that year.
2016 – XIII Corporate Architecture Award for the hotel project Ilha do Capítulo.
2016 – Publication of Project Mopi (Nature and Nurture), Schools of the 21st Century by the Architectural Record.
2020 – Prix ​​Versailles in the category Restaurant for Central America, South and the Caribbean with Éllo Restaurant.

Matthieu Van Beneden


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