The big worm - Minhocão

Minhocão is a creature similar to a huge earthworm that is rumoured to live in the forests of South America. The creature has scaly black skin and a pair of tentacle-like structures protruding from its head.  Its name derived from the Portugese "minhoca" (earthworm).

In Brazil, the architect Eduardo Affonso Reidy designed the Conjunto Habitacional Pedregulho, a social housing complex built from 1946 as housing complex for the government employees of the Federal District. Reidy was extremely active as an urban planner, taking part in various projects for the city of Rio de Janeiro. He became the head of the architecture and urban planning services of the Municipal Authority of Rio de Janeiro and worked on a series of solutions for the central area of the city, of which one of the most famous was the urbanisation of the Aterro do Flamengo (Flamengo Park)

Pedregulho was praised by Max Bill in 1953 and by Le Corbusier on his 1962 visit to Brazil.

In the documentary "The big worm -  Minhocão"Raphaël Grisey, visual artist and filmmaker, give perspectives on the being and becoming of the modernist building complex.

A car with a big sound system broadcasts a text of Eduardo Affonso Reidy on his modern architecture precepts. It drives around the Conjunto Habitacional Pedregulho, also called Minhocão (the big worm) by his inhabitants. 

The ballet of the driving car, combined with interviews, sound extracts from the fiction film «Lucio Flávio, the passenger of agony» and other scenes, produce a portrait of a major modernist Brazilian building and of the popular northern zone´s context of Rio de Janeiro and raises issues about patrimony and memory of social housings in a place which is about to be renovated after 50 years of state´s abandonment and autonomous management.

Click here to watch the full documentary