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Brumadinho Memorial




Our task in the face of the reality of the pain of families puts us in a position of profound humility.
The voice, the only voice, is that of the witnesses. The narrative belongs to those who can no longer speak and to those left in grief. There is no consolation that can be materialized under these circumstances.


We resist the erasure of time and history. May tragedies like this never happen again. This space will enable a sensitive, individual and shared experience, with people who live in a state of suspension and suffering, giving voice and shape to what we have not forgotten.

We have the challenge of shaping a solid space that can serve as a shelter, avoid forgetting the brutality of the tragedy and at the same time provide an adequate environment for private and collective mourning. It is necessary to work with deep meanings that generate reflection.


This, therefore, is our limited effort to honor the memory of priceless people whose lives and dreams were abruptly interrupted. Our wish is that these symbols have strength beyond mere gestures and that they are indelible testimonies.



The ipê tree, the symbol of Brazil, comes as an example of overcoming.  In summer, it rises with leaves to provide shade, in winter these leaves fall to let the sunlight through, and when the drought presses it blooms to show that, despite everything, life goes on.


In the short period when they are in bloom, the ipês will dye the ground with golden leaves, like traces left by those who left. They will be a demonstration, a cult to the memory of the victims. When in bloom, they contrast with the earthy tones of mining, bringing the idea of life.


Mixed with the original grove, 272 yellow Ipês will be planted, so that every cry can be heard. A procession of hope, which welcomes people, paths and spaces.



The memorial's entrance already reveals its mission.  It welcomes visitors and makes us reflect: how many brutal mistakes make for a disaster?


The shape of this pavilion is twisted, fragmented, just like the dreams that were shattered, but which serve as solid evidence of what happened, of the invasion of the mud that destroys, disfigures and distorts the light. It represents the conflict of the moving land mass, overwhelming force in the face of human insufficiency.

Her materiality is an exposed concrete mixed with red earth. In the concrete of the interior are incorporated some metallic pieces taken from the rubble, witnesses coming directly from the disaster, which are now re-signified, providing shade and protection.


This space is an environment of solemnity, which removes the visitor from the everyday world and confronts him with the undeniable record of the reality that happened.


Upon entering the room is dark. On the ceiling only slits of light, as if the wave was hitting the building and putting out the sun. Experiences and sensations that prepare us for what will come. It is necessary to go through this dive, before entering the memorial.


The darkness speaks about this mud that, even before arriving with its overwhelming impact, raised a dense dust that covered the sun and dyed the day to night. The first awareness of despair was this absence of light.  The luminous points, contrast between light / dark, speak of the day that has not dawned, but also evoke the belief that there could still be a possible path .

The paradox persists when, in the midst of the chaos, solidarity hands appear that unite to ease the pain: firefighters, volunteers and so many other Brazilians.

Every January 25th, at exactly 12:28 pm, the beam of light that did not come will cut the air and illuminate a druse of crystals, a set of jewels arranged by nature. The family jewels will thus receive the light that was lacking that day.

The foyer also serves to connect some functionalities of the needs program. On the southwest side is the meditative/contemplative space.


The meditative space is configured as a large free hall with variable ceiling heights, open to the garden, and its activities can be extended to an external amphitheater. As the entire entrance pavilion is located just before the existing slope on the southeastern face of the land.

On the northeast side is the cafeteria, along with a core of restrooms and the Direction, Management and Administration area.


Both the meditative space and the café have their external areas protected, but with a view of the trees, inserting themselves within this protection formed by the topography itself. From this green breath, this open-air anteroom, the visitor is led to an inviting path, embedded in the terrain.

From this green breath, this living space, an open-air anteroom, the visitor is led to an inviting path embedded in the terrain. From there, we set off on our walk of remembrance and memories.



The path is cut through the terrain towards the breakout. A line in time and space that points to the place of the gigantic fracture. It is, therefore, an excavated rift, an indelible witness to what happened.


The Monument to the Fatal Victims is now transformed into a trajectory, between names and memories, under a suspended sculpture. The 230-meter course speaks both of the smallness of the human being in the face of the extraordinary consequences of the tragedy, and of the course of mourning, transforming into materiality a movement that is very intimate and carried out in very personal rhythms.


The trench morphology encourages introspection, as once you enter it the only visible horizon is the framing at the end. His direct and impactful perspective induces the movement of the gaze, resonating the feeling of emptiness left by what happened.


On the side walls are the names of each of the departed people. They emerge, one by one, as you walk, like stories engraved on these side surfaces.


After going through all the names, the visitor approaches the suspended object that had been seen since the beginning, raised above the walls. Just before it, an incline invites you to the Espaço de Memorias, where you can also take a break and rest from the journey.

In this space of slanted walls, the inflections in the ceiling and the floor itself serve as a support for mapped projections, generating an impact experience. In addition to images and videos, the expographic project can include projections of letters and messages from family members, creating an immersive environment, honoring the lives of those people.

After leaving the space of memories, the visitor continues his visit under the suspended sculpture, a large head that feels and cries. From her geometric eyes, tears flow, our most human gesture when we are faced with the impact of loss.


These tears create a veil over the concrete walls, behind which are the remaining segments of the victims.  Then the water is directed by two lateral streams, which are led the rest of the way to the viewpoint suspended, at its end, where they form a surface of water that empties into a lake.


At the viewpoint, at the end of this long route, you can see the landscape of the valley; a surface that has been hit and stained by mud. A contemplative space is offered here, floating on the lake below. It is a place of serenity, where the sound and presence of water speak of this movement of flowing.


The lake is located 3 meters below the viewpoint and extends along the contours. It can be accessed either through a side exit from the crevice, or through lace paths that come from the community, at the north end of the land.  Longilinear, it reflects the sky and harbors nostalgia. On the horizon, a new silence is born, the idea of continuity, which looks to the future with hope.



The landscaping acts as a sewing element, between the building and the landscape. The ipês, together with the winding paths, generate interactive, playful and free routes. Organic trails extend through them, so that each visitor can reconfigure their own walk. These paths also generate spaces for being, for socializing, for meditation and expand the freedom of connections through spaces.


Through them, one can visualize the white sculpture that cries, from a distance, as if it were embedded in the ground, and it is from them that its strongest presence manifests itself. It can be seen from here that its shape is a square, a shape that symbolizes the human being, unlike the circle, which is divine. We live with the circle daily, when we look at a full moon, the sun, a fruit, when we throw a stone into the water.


We use this square to refer to “Homo faber”, the man who builds. The human being had to use the ability of reasoning and synthesis to invent the right angle, to codify forces of nature, such as the force of gravity, which is the vertical, and the horizontal forces that balance and make us walk with comfort. So when he invents the square, the human invents his being in the world, he invents the way to build his place.


This square is tilted, conveying an idea of pain, because what was presented as stable and reliable, turned out to be brutally flawed. This form is the imbalance that generated the pain. Therefore, this sculpture can be read as a head that continually cries for lost lives.


At the same time, it is suspended, and its metallic surface is painted white, bringing within itself this dichotomy between weight and lightness, creating a counterpoint between the weight of death and the process of continuing the life of those who remain.

We proposed, at the northern end of the land, an element that demarcates the boundaries where the mud arrived. In this way, even if time and vegetation erase the boundaries, there will be evidence of the magnitude of the disaster. Our suggestion is that this element extends over the entire impact area.


The proposals described here are intended to be flexible suggestions and are initial launches of an attempt to work with such a delicate topic. In order for this memorial to be alive and active, we open ourselves to community participation in its constitution, so that it materializes as a space for belonging, identification, and collectivity.

Gustavo Penna, Norberto Bambozzi, Laura Penna, Letícia Carneiro, Alice Flores, Fernanda Tolentino, Henrique Neves, Gabriel de Souza, Eduardo Magalhãe;os, Julia Lins, Larissa Freire, Sávio de Oliveira,  Gustavo Monteiro, Felipe Franco, Mariana Carvalho, Rafaela Rennó, Caio Vieira, Fernanda Freitas, Matheus Welffort, Manoel Belisario. 

Andre Silva

Natalia Castro

Management and Planning

Isabela Tolentino

Taimara Araújo 


Diana Penna

Tamiris Bibbó 


Brumadinho - Minas Gerais - Brazil

Technical Data

Project Year: 2020

Built Area: 1220 m²

Rodolfo Parolin

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