2021 GFD 🏆 Awards

Winner | Ecumenical Space in Varginha | Perkins&Will

The history and tradition of Minas Gerais state, in the southwest region of Brazil, were the starting points to create a new ecumenical space in the city of Varginha. Conceived to receive and celebrate all religious beliefs, the landmark will be located next to a new condominium under development in the region.

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🏆 Winner
Global Future Design Awards 2021

Ecumenical Space in Varginha
Cultural Architecture Concept



Design Team
Douglas Tolaine, Fernando Vidal, Lara Kaiser e Gabriel Freitas, Adriana Barbosa and Ana Flávia Salvador

Varginha, Minas Gerais – Brazil



With an imponent metallic structure that covers outdoor benches, the project stands out mainly for the symbolisms in all its conception, starting with the material choices. The Corten steel is a nod to the mining activity, which is a very important part of the region’s history. The presence of coffee trees on the site is also a reference to Varginha’s coffee plantations. The city is currently responsible for more than 30% of the national coffee beans commercialization.
In addition to the materials, the design is also inspired by the local culture. Pronounced sacred architecture is a strong part of the region’s culture, that holds churches designed by artists as Aleijadinho. The metallic structure that covers the ecumenical space has a triangular shaped void in reference to the religious triad (father, son, and holy spirit) and also alludes to a land anchored arrow pointing to the sky. The triangle is also a nod to the state’s flag. “Symbolisms in materials and shapes were a simple, smart solution, where the main piece does the entire project work”, explains Douglas Tolaine, Design Principal at Perkins&Will’s São Paulo studio.

The pavillion will be open to the public, creating a regional landmark and keeping the terrain’s integration with the surroundings. “The ecumenical space is a place for reflection, contemplation and celebration. This initiative will bring an interesting gain to the region, with a space full of references to the local history and culture”, states Tolaine. The project will also count urban furniture designed by Zanini Filho.

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