Delta City

Barra do Furado is strategically placed at an artificially-created channel, about 200 meters wide. This scheme engages the canal by operating as a series of ecological wetlands that were in danger of being destroyed as the oil-based logistical port continued to develop. Instead of creating a programmatically dense port, the scheme demonumentalizes the channel into a delta that services operative “islands”. The reconfiguration of the port facilities allows for the region to be organized into isolated zones while also protecting and promoting the wetland ecology.

The current channel is a hard edge, which acts as the political dividing line between the municipalities of Campos dos Goytacazes, an offshore petroleum industry, and Quissama, a sugar cane producing district. Rather than trying to integrate these two distinct economies by concentrating their infrastructures, the scheme “unbraids” of the channel in to tributaries that blur the political and economic divide.

This new series of tributaries can precisely manage and filter water. The productive capacity of a wetland is directly correlated to the length of its edge condition, so by multiplying the soft edge through the creation of the delta, a highly productive landscape is formed that can process both contamination from the larger watershed as well as the local logistical facilities before entering the ocean. The depth, width, and slope of each tributary is linked to its programmatic use, contamination levels, and water movement while its length affects its remediation capacity. The islands between the tributaries have unique and hybridized program linked to their respective tributaries.

Ultimately, the strict boundaries of the Campo region transform into a performative natural landscape with more programmatic flexibility. The new, artificial waterways cater to the preexisting economic constraints of the biofuel and petroleum industries, encouraging them to co-exist in a precisely-managed landscape.

Project Designers: Daniel Choi, Shuning Fan, Wei Zhao
Project Advisor: Neeraj Bhatia
Cornell University, School of Architecture 
 2012