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Equal parts disco ball, beach-spanning parasol, solar-energy collector and nightlight, this massive floating orb proposes a futuristic landmark for the rocky point where Rio de Janeiro’s legendary Copacabana and Ipanema beaches meet. Like a low-orbiting planet made of two Mylar balloons – one small and helium-filled, nested inside a larger one filled with hot air – this multi-purpose addition to Zona Sul’s local solar system would provide beachgoers with a roving patch of shade to take the edge off the midday sun. At night, Aéreo would use energy collected from adhesive solar panels to illuminate Ipanema’s lampposts, as well as its own surface.

Project: Aéreo

Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

School: Harvard University, U.S.

Team: Caio Barboza and Sofia Blanco Santos

People’s Choice: A+ Award for Student Work
In this year’s AZ Award submissions, design students in the U.S. and Poland caught the jury's eye with projects that include an inventive baseball field and a concept for a wild water park.

Explore more Award Winners

Award of MeritA+ Award for Student Work
Aaron Choi and Diego Valencia, with Brett Berger, Christine Phu, Kim Stevenson and faculty member Philip Horton, Arizona State University
Award of MeritA+ Award for Student Work
Savannah College of Art and Design, U.S.
Mark Hemphill with Christopher Dowell and Sanaz Karbasi
Award of MeritA+ Award for Student Work
Marta López Rubio, Superior Technical School of Architecture of Madrid, Spain