With the World Cup scheduled to take place in Brazil in 2014 and the Summer Olympic games following in 2016, officials in Rio thought it was high time to revitalize the abandoned Paineiras hotel and turn it into a model for sustainable tourism. Their recently unveiled plan is a stunning green-roofed eco-hotel that makes the surrounding environment its highest priority.
The original Hotel Paineiras was built in 1884 by the Pedro II, Emperor of Portugal as a luxurious rest stop for wealthy travelers on their way to the Corcovado statue, the symbol of Rio de Janeiro. At Paineiras, visitors to Corcovado would board a train to continue the rest of the way up to the famous monument. Over time the hotel has since fallen into disrepair and for the last 30 or so years, has been left abandoned.
This renewed design for the Hotel Paineiras Complex received an honorable mention in a national contest. The complex sits in the middle of the Tijuca National Park, approximately 1 km from the famous monument of Christ The Redeemer. The old hotel, which is unfortunately in a state of total disrepair, must be torn down in order to renovate the site. In its stead, a new complex will be built, consisting of tourism center for the memorial and national park and an eco hotel and convention center. The tourism center will include indoor public place, exhibition halls, lockers, shops, a café, changing rooms for hikers, outdoor space, and a train station which will take visitors to the monument.
The eco-hotel and surrounding complex will be built with the greatest care for the surrounding environment. Nestled into the natural topography of the area, the hotel will be surrounded by a green buffer zone will that provides a transition zone into the forest. The structure will be built from steel and “non-aggressive methods,” with a focus on streamlining and reducing construction waste. On the western facade a large wall will be built to protect the hotel from solar heat gain.
The architects took three main points into consideration with this project. First, the hotel and visitor center must keep environmental impact to a minimum. Second, the hotel must impart some of the historical character of the original hotel, which is held in the collective memory of the citizens of Rio. Finally, the new infrastructure must be able to handle the influx of visitors from the upcoming events in Brazil, by minimizing traffic jams, providing parking, serving as a transfer station, and providing enough space and amenities for visitors. We expect to see many excellent projects like this being developed for Rio in the coming years.