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Centro Cultural Lá da Favelinha

Coletivo LEVANTE

Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil

September 2021


Fernando Maculan (Architect), Joana Magalhães (Architect)


Coletivo LEVANTE team (Architects), Micrópolis (Architects), Atiaîa Lighting Design (Lighting Design), REMEXE Favelinha (Aglomerado da Serra's Seamstresses Cooperative)


Centro Cultural Lá da Favelinha


Leonardo Finotti


Kdu dos Anjos, the founder of Lá da Favelinha, aimed to refurbish the unfinished building that had housed the Cultural Center since 2015. The construction was initially started by his parents as a means to generate rental income through small apartment units. However, Kdu's parents believed in his vision and worked hard to help him materialize an independent Cultural Center in that building.
The concept for this architectural project originated in 2017 when architect Fernando Maculan met with Kdu dos Anjos during a collaborative fashion upcycling workshop in Favela da Serra. The project took on a distinctive identity with the adoption of a textile solution for the facade and roof. This approach aimed to provide effective shading and temperature reduction while maintaining natural ventilation. Seamstresses from the favela, who also participated in the upcycling workshop and founded the favela fashion brand REMEXE, sewed and prepared the screens.
The completion and expansion of the project brought about significant changes. The ground floor, directly accessible from the street, was transformed into the "Favelinha Shopping Center". The intermediate floor underwent extensive renovations to accommodate sanitary facilities and workspaces, while the rooftop was converted into a versatile area for various activities.
In front of the cultural center, a parklet was collaboratively designed with young people from the favela, using recycled materials from school desks provided by the municipal public education network. Every internal space is infused with vibrant colors, creating a scenic architecture that celebrates dancers, models, entrepreneurs, and artists who view Favelinha as a gateway to the world.


Favela da Serra is situated in the central-southern region of Belo Horizonte, bordered by the Serra do Curral, a natural hill and landmark of Minas Gerais state. Stretching out from the foothills of Favela da Serra is a city inhabited by over 2.5 million people.
The undulating topography of the area conceals and unveils seven clustered villages, where brick houses are nestled closely together. In these neighborhoods, pedestrian pathways weave through narrow alleys, creating a maze bustling with the movement of motorcycles and cars.
One of the villages within Favela da Serra is known as "Favelinha." The cultural center named "Lá da Favelinha" serves as both a symbol of origin and destination, welcoming residents of the favela as well as visitors from other parts of the city.
Traditionally, Brazilian favelas have been portrayed in the media for their lack of infrastructure, unsanitary conditions, social tensions and violence. However, this project recognizes the presence of a proactive group within the favela, whose efforts have brought about opportunities and fostered a new model of citizenship, influencing the development of public policies by the state.
The architectural design aims to distinguish itself amidst the landscape through its vibrant colors and distinctive materials, becoming a recognizable symbol of the social and spatial metamorphosis unfolding within this community.


The building housing Centro Cultural Lá da Favelinha has become an iconic landmark in Favela da Serra, standing out with its vibrant and contrasting presence in the neighborhood. Djonga, the famous Brazilian rapper, jokingly remarked upon seeing the illuminated red fabrics for the first time: "now the favela has its own MASP," referring to the São Paulo Museum of Art.
While the comparison doesn't aim for any programmatic or scale equivalence, it reflects the symbolic value that the Centro Cultural Lá da Favelinha holds for this specific community. It's a place where people can recognize themselves, seek learning, support, and clarification, discover and express themselves, and exercise their freedom and dignity as citizens.
The efforts of Coletivo Levante are rooted in the creation of collaborative networks, bringing together architects, professionals from various fields, favela residents, and public and private institutions to realize each project.
Our goal is to amplify the strengths and values already established in places like Favelinha through architecture. The impact extends beyond the building itself, reaching the entire favela territory and fostering a sense of belonging, empowerment, and pride among the local population. Through the various activities it hosts and promotes, the cultural center serves as a bridge connecting the favela with other parts of the city and the world.

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