I'm Marcella Massa, an award-winning and licensed Architect & Urban Planner from Brazil. Throughout my life, I had accomplished many goals and discovered new passions as well.
With an architect father and a psychologist mother, I was always encouraged to think about interaction among people: how they feel, what they experience, and how they react within an environment. Their example laid the basis of my fundamental interest as a designer: to be involved with decision-making and planning for building users’ social interactions.
I believe that spaces and people have to work together in harmony. As a designer, I try as much as possible to think first about occupants’ use of a space and how to make it functional for them. Several years ago, I participated with a colleague in an annual Brazilian design fair, "Designing More for Less.” The theme of the fair was how professionals could design a pleasant yet impactful space, highly customized but using
less money. Our proposal was a Public Women’s Restroom, where all the exhibition's users had access, not only for appreciation, but for their own necessity as well. Our design incorporated local materials and recycled wood. All the ornament were made by local craftsmen, encouraging local economic growth. We brought elements that would remind the users their connection with the exterior environment. We had a green wall, speakers throughout the space that played waterfall and bird songs, and an automatic essence spray as a kind of aromatherapy. These features made our design a point for social interaction, and users were heard describing it as “a place that I can forget about outside and just BE here”. After more than a month on display, our proposal won "Best Commercial Project" award in the city of Cuiaba. The users and juries said that our space was an exceptional way to show how well-integrated elements of design can be with nature and people, and how the use of colors could contribute.
The next year, the National Fair Committee selected our project as the "Most Important Project for Social Inclusion"; to be awarded in Milan, Italy.
I have always been passionate about Sustainable Design. However, I don't think sustainability involves only designing and constructing amazing buildings that are "energy-efficient". More fundamentally, Sustainable Design must be based also on how our intervention will affect the community and the users' lives. I'm an active volunteer and it has allowed me to see the users' side with more depth. Being involved with different groups of people, of different ages and backgrounds, has helped me understand that there are significant gaps in the healthy use of technology among many of those groups and how they are interacting in the environment. And because of that, I have been reading about the impact of Urban Design, upon diverse communities. Either for good or for bad, there is an impact. I believe, too, that architectural designers must master the broader range of knowledge which effects a social impact.
How can an urban environment be well-conceived and well-implemented, as a whole package? How can I, as an Architect, improve life in my community (or even in the world)? How can I connect architecture and sustainable design in a more fundamentally social aspect?
I am still in the beginning of my discovery and research, but I'm already so excited!
I'm proud of all my achievements over the years and sure that more is yet to come. Shoot me an email if you want to share your discoveries as well.
Thank you and God bless you,
Int'l Assoc. AIA, LEED Green Assoc., APA