Team behind Água Carioca launch Água Paulista in São Paulo


As part of the 11th São Paulo Architecture Biennial 2017, Ooze was invited to develop Água Paulista, a project investigating the potential for local, closed-loop water cycles, using rainwater collection, natural wastewater treatment and water recycling, in the city.

With support from state water company Sabesp and Creative Industries Fund NL, Ooze set up a programme to engage with local communities and experts, and developed ‘provocative’ designs to stimulate discussion. Three events were held in December 2017 in São Paulo – a community workshop which created a graffiti map exploring closed-loop water cycles in the neighbourhood of Sapé, a decision makers workshop to interrogate implementation and management, and a lecture to provide a forum for public reflection and debate.

Enthusiasm for the potential of Água Paulista was high among the community as well as other stakeholders. Working with Sabesp and the municipality, Ooze is now looking for locations and funding for pilot projects.

> Read more on Ooze’s website

ÁGUA CARIOCA wins top prize at LafargeHolcim Awards 2017 Latin America


We are very proud to announce that Ooze was awarded the Bronze prize at the recent LafargeHolcim 2017 Awards, the world's most significant competition in sustainable construction. From over 750 entries across Latin America (and over 5,000 worldwide), our project Água Carioca was selected as a leading example of innovative design. The jury highlighted the 'intelligence and playfulness' with which Ooze took on the pressing challenge of water supply and sanitation in informal areas in Rio de Janeiro, as well as its participatory approach:  “By making water treatment local and visible, the proposed scheme creates an active relationship between water management and the community”.

Água Carioca fundamentally turns around how we deal with water in urban areas: Instead of having to collect and transport it from each house to a treatment plant outside the city, the wastewater is cleaned and reused directly where it is produced creating a healthy, beautiful and clean habitat. You can read more on our new website, or on this site,

We'd like to thank all our friends and colleagues over the years for their help in making Água Carioca a success, and in particular the support received from Studio-X Rio, Sitio Roberto Burle Marx, Rio de Janeiro Municipality, Dutch Consulate in Rio, Creative Industries Fund NL, Sacha Mollaret, Pedro Rivera, Gabriela Werneck, Marlon Souza, Claudia Storino, Mario Campanella, Verena Balz, Marina Hirsch, Gustavo Pacheco, Marianne von Lachmann, Mercedes von Lachmann and Izabel Noronha. Água Carioca is now moving to the next stage. 

See our winning entry here



We're delighted to announce that the Água Carioca project will be exhibited at the 11th São Paulo Architecture Biennial, being held in the city this October until December.

The theme of the Biennial for 2017 is ‘In Project’, proposing a series of experimental actions in the city to generate collaborative knowledge about the territory and its forms of transformation. They challenge participants to reposition the architect in front of the community and foster collective awareness through direct action. They see the biennial as a catalyst to invigorate the city with projects - approaching real issues and challenges, working across disciplines and valuing the importance of the local.

We're really happy that Água Carioca has been recognised for its social commitment and action and are looking forward to it being part of this exciting event.



First water test at Água Carioca pilot

We've carried out the first official water test at the Água Carioca pilot project, located at the Sitio Roberto Burle Marx.

We're pleased to report that, according to this sampling, the effluent from the constructed wetland is of the same quality universally found in these systems after successfully treating domestic waste water.

It's great news and means that the system appears to be successfully doing the job it was created for! We're looking at more regular testing possibilities and also continuing to increase the use of the toilet as much as possible - to give our plants the food they need to grow even taller and more beautiful. We'll keep you informed...



Updated Água Carioca website

Did you notice? We've updated and restructured the Agua Carioca website with lots of new information, films and photos. We've also added this section with all the latest news.

Alongside other project information, you can read about the story so far, our approach to the project and watch films and animations that explain what it's all about. Keep up to date by subscribing to the RSS feed on this news page!

Possible partnership with Museu do Amanhã

We're excited to be exploring the possibility of a partnership with the hugely innovative Museu do Amanhã in Rio de Janeiro, to deliver an Água Carioca System for a local school. Ideas are still in development but we hope to be able to update you with more information soon!

Água Carioca entered for Holcim Awards


We've entered the Água Carioca project to the international LafargeHolcim Foundation Awards! Results won't be announced until later this summer, but we're keeping our fingers crossed that this important project gets recognised. Winning would be an enormous boost to this project that is continuing to gather momentum.

Municipality and Water Companies visit Sitio Burle Marx pilot

 Visitors at the pilot in the Sitio Burle Marx (image: Studio-X)

Visitors at the pilot in the Sitio Burle Marx (image: Studio-X)

Whilst in Rio, and as part of the X-Week 2017 programme, Ooze Architects hosted a visit to the Água Carioca pilot, created last year at the Sitio Burle Marx. Attended by over 30 people, including representatives from Rio Municipality, environmental agency INEA and water company Rio Aguas, the visit gave people a chance to see the Água Carioca system in action. To arrange your own visit to the pilot, contact the Sitio Burle Marx.

Lecture and panel participation at X-Week 2017

 Participating in the debate following the lecture (image: Studio-X)

Participating in the debate following the lecture (image: Studio-X)

We were delighted to be invited to participate in X-Week 2017, where we presented the work of Água Carioca to an international audience in Rio de Janeiro. The presentations were followed by a lively debate concerning the appropriate scale for water infrastructure and sanitation. Our participation challenged the idea of sewage needing to be hidden and underground, arguing that "it should be close to us so we understand how it works."

X-week, from March 9 to 14, was hosted by Studio-X Rio as part of their six-year anniversary celebrations and organised in partnership with the Columbia Global Centers, the Museum of Tomorrow and the City of Rio de Janeiro. The events of the week focused on the topics of water and housing.

Pilot - Opening Day

The Água Carioca exhibition of 2016 at the studio of Roberto Burle Marx, and the prototype in the Sítio Burle Marx Site opened on November 5, Saturday.

The day began with a gathering at Studio-X, where visitors had a chance to familiarise themselves with the project via discussion, text, images, and an interview with Ooze.

They then were taken on a tour of the pilot project at the Sítio Burle Marx, which demonstrates how the system of constructed wetlands can be built on a smaller scale. The visit was lead by Eva Pfannes and Sylvain Hartenberg, who took the visitors through the ideas of Ooze. 

These ideas, as well as the details of Água Carioca research project, the design and construction process of the pilot as well as the documentary, Água Carioca diarios can be experienced in the Sítio until March 2017. 

Construction of Água Carioca pilot begInS!

Construction of our first pilot is underway! Situated in the Sítio Burle Marx, in the West Zone neighbourhood of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, realising this full-scale pilot is an important step in the development of the project. As well as hosting the pilot, the Sitio Burle Marx are also contributing their expertise on planting - it's great to be working alongside such local experts.

Sitio Burle Marx is the former home of Roberto Burle Marx, considered to be the most important landscape designer of the 20th century. It houses Burle Marx’s extraordinary plant collection, as well as a large part of his artistic works and his house with its furniture, art collections and personal belongings. Roberto Burle Marx was a tireless advocate of the natural environment, so it seems a fitting home for Agua Carioca, with its closed loop, natural water treatment system!

STUDIO-X EXHIBITION opens with debate

Agua-Carioca-Opening-33-for web.jpg

This exhibition shows intermediate results for four different neighbourhoods across the city: Mare, Morro do Salgueiro, Morro da Formiga, and Rio das Pedras. Each design speculates how Constructed Wetlands may look like when being implemented in distinct urban settings. 

The project has been carried out in close cooperation with inhabitants and received support of several non-governmental and governmental organizations.  Comments, questions and recommendations made by stakeholders are an integral part of the outcome. While maps and plans discuss physical potentialities and barriers, quotations of their remarks highlight institutional chances and challenges.

The exhibition is hosted by Studio-X and shows drawings, models and videos arising from the project so far. The debate included:

  • Alexandre De Bonis, civil engineer, Coordinator of Water Resources at the Secretary of Environment at the Mayor¥s Office of Rio de Janeiro.
  • Carmen Lucia Roquette Pinto, chemist and research, aguape specialist
  • Helena de Almeida Rego, architect and urbanist, with a Masters in Urbanism at PROURB (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro) and Project Manager at Instituto Pereira Passos
  • Jose Miguel da Silva, student in Geography at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, is founder of the Baia Viva moviment and an activist for the de-contamination of Cidade dos Meninos in Duque de Caxias
  • Maria Angelica Maciel Costa, doctor in Urban Planning and Regional Planejamento at (IPPUR) and professor in the Tourism Course at the Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.
  • Otavio Cabrera de Leo, geographer, works at the Secretary of Environment of Rio de Janeiro and is Advisor on Sanitation Policy at INEA.

Moderators: Mario Campanella & Pedro Rivera