Modernity Arrives in Downtown Rio

In the mid 70s, the St. Benedict Monastery, owner of the property located at Avenida Rio Branco 1, was interested in a better commercial utilization for the land occupied by the building known as Casa Mauá since the street was called Central Avenue. So, Édison Musa architects office was hired to design the project of a new building. From the project approval until the demolition of Casa Mauá, it took four years of negotiations.

In 1983, the international-styled designed construction started: a 28-floor tower, with 10 floors for parking and 18 for offices. Its facade would be made of exposed concrete, glass and aluminum. In 1986, the improved economic conditions (Cruzado Plan) and the end of modernist rationalism redirected the marketing of the developer, who took advantage of the growing influence of postmodernism and aimed to give a new image to the building.

Thus, in June 1986, a group, consisted of the Monastery’s Abbot, the President and the Marketing Director of João Fortes Engineering, the author of the project, and the administrator of St. Benedict Monastery’s estate, traveled to the USA in order to observe the new post-modern buildings constructed in New York, New Haven, Stamford and Houston. It was an attempt to change the vision of the architect and to make contacts with foreign architecture offices that might be interested in a joint venture with Édison Musa, allowing its publication in major international architecture journals.

After the trip, despite joint venture was not succeeded, a working group was created with the aim of planning new guidelines and modifications to the project. The appearance of the facades was post-modernized and the structure was strengthened. The main entrance was highlighted by a gallery with some fake pillars, and arches that allude to St. Benedict Monastery. A clock was also included to mark the main entrance.

In late 1989, the building obtained the occupancy permit. The Monastery received, as payment, the ground stores and six floors of offices. The remaining floors, except the 20th (owned by the developer), were sold in only a month to pension funds of state-owned companies: Previ, Sistel, Portus and Postalis. In April 1992, the condominium became the first self-managed commercial building in the city of Rio de Janeiro.

Source: RHEINGANTZ, P. Complexo RB1: Território de Conflitos de Percepções e Expectativas – http://www.fau.ufrj.br/prolugar/arq_pdf/diversos/complexo_rb1nutau1996.pdf


  • 2001 – Lifts

    In 2001, all the lifts in the building underwent a major reform to become more modern and ensure efficiency and safety to users. The replacement of old units was performed over two years, in order to minimize the discomfort caused by the works of installing the new technology. Today, all the lifts are completely automated and monitored by the Control Room, which can be contacted by voice in case of operation interruption.

  • 2011 – Hall

    RB1: synonymous with elegance and comfort
    Tracking the modernization and revitalization of Rio’s Port Zone, RB1 remodeled the entrance halls, adapting the common area of the building to the new international standards of large corporate buildings. Besides the usual maintenance and comfort guarantee to user, the project, in charge of the architect André Piva, praised the elegance that has always been one of the most striking attributes of RB1, using modern elements of contemporary architecture.