top of page



Estação das Artes

J M Carvalho Araújo, Arquitectura e Design

Fortaleza, Ceará, Brazil

July 2022


José Manuel Castro Carvalho Araújo (CEO - Architect)



Government of the State of Ceará


Felipe Petrovsky


Initially only aimed at the creation of a Pinacotheca where once stood the sheds which served the former station, the project discovers, during a more comprehensive work analysis, the possibility to create a cultural axis in the surrounding area and in a striking way for the area, offering a program which is not confined to the space within the walls, providing healthy occupation and surveillance alternatives thanks to the intensity and diversity of its own use.
The project then also adds the building of the former station which, amongst the others, bears a certain interest and constructive, symbolic memory, seeking to restore the original image and relevance, replicating the goal of shielding the image of these urban fronts and releasing the core of the complex towards a more flexible drawing, adjusted to the museum, exhibition and performance program. As a result, the project gains permeability and fluidity between programs and takes on the vast urban area as its broader identity, materializing this idea through passageways between the buildings, either existing or purpose-built, but whose path offers this dynamic and appropriation of the building as a whole, while also adjusting to variations and different demands of programmatic nature. These structuring planes thus stand out, organizing the big, permeable volumes, arranged in parallel, which the drawing of the square extends through lines, regaining the image and symbolism of the railways which once characterized this place, while also solving the drawing of the different platforms and usages, as well as the transition between distinct levels in this big outside space.


Regarding the dissatisfaction and questioning of the establishment and the potential of each place, Carvalho Araújo’s provocative attitude leads to a succession of discussions which extend to the projects and are not limited to the commission or work in progress. On the contrary, they easily migrate to other challenges often raised by the architect himself. This ability to come up with work, not just commercially, but also diplomatically, led to the emergence of a big project with increased demands at the planning and urban management levels in the place where once stood the former train station of the city. Cultural in nature, the program shows an enormous ambition from the Ceará Government to bet on culture as an urban regeneration and social rehabilitation vector.
The urban context surrounding the project is delicate given the risk and current reality of the place, sharing the city center with significatively degraded and rundown areas, both due to the constructions and the socially underprivileged audience, creating a danger and unsanitary outbreak in a central area which has the potential to become a good example of inclusion, regeneration and urban enrichment.


The Arts Station repurposes an old railway station. It houses exhibitions, performances, auditoriums, workshops, a library, and a gastronomic market. Divided into five autonomous units - Square, Art Gallery, IPHAN, SECULT, and Workshops - it offers various spaces for cultural activities.
Above all, the project is concerned with providing occupation principles and rules, a use strategy, instead of being authoritative and restrictive. This is a guiding drawing which prioritizes decisions, event those of the project itself, given the flexibility, expectation and size of the work. The project also dared to reach the ability to attract programs which led to a greater and healthier occupation of these places, such as the establishment of the State Secretariat of Culture and its departments in a building adjacent to the ensemble which is expected to be renovated and expanded with a new contiguous element, centralizing those domains into a single space and presenting the bet on this territory as a new and dignified urban area, overturning the burden and demerit of the former occupation marked by abandon and danger. The clear concern with the use flows and dynamic of these spaces stands out from this intervention, as it is noticeable that the nuance of the project does not lie in detail drawing, even though this is also present, but in more comprehensive details of mixed nature, such as ensuring the ability of this large urban parcel to respond and adjust to the rhythm and needs of the city and its inhabitants over time. This challenge continually infects the neighborhood and makes the drawing always look ahead, now towards the seafront and the demands generated by the quality and impact of such a complex, encouraging the regeneration of other interesting and functionally important spaces, giving away how, in the future, the inhabitants will inevitably demand that this healing and stitching attitude be replicated and extended throughout space and time.

bottom of page