Last Tuesday (21) the City Hall of Duque de Caxias, in Baixada Fluminense, began the construction of a wall on the access ramp to Teatro Raul Cortez, in Praça do Pacificador. Residents and social and human rights movements denounced the case on social networks and claim that the objective of Mayor Washington Reis (MDB) is to prevent homeless people from sheltering under the ramp.
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The work also drew negative attention as it was a mischaracterization of the original architecture of a building designed by Oscar Niemeyer. “The measure reflects the hygienist practice of resorting to hostile design to exclude certain groups such as the homeless population from the public space,” stated the Forum Grita Baixada.
The work has been called “Wall of Shame” because it reinforces prejudice against the homeless population and because the City of Caxias has not presented an efficient public policy program to deal with the case.
After the repercussion, the City of Caxias published this Thursday afternoon (23), on its website, the information that the renovation is due to the 15 years of the inauguration of the theater and that it was a requirement of the Fire Department. The total estimated cost of the work is R$2.2 million.
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On the website, the City of Caxias also states that the general renovation of the building was authorized by the office of architect Oscar Niemeyer and that “the original work will not be deprived of its characteristics”. But in an interview with the newspaper The globe, Niemeyer’s great-grandson, Paulo Niemeyer, who also signs the theater project, said that the intervention was not authorized by the family’s architectural office.
The City Hall also said that it does not intend to “make the shelter for homeless people impossible” and that the city has specific and appropriate places for “welcoming drug addicts and homeless people, such as the Reference Centers for Social Assistance, Centro Pop and Fazenda Paraíso, for example”.
Source: BoF Rio de Janeiro
Edition: Eduardo Miranda