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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
Rowan Liivamägi, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Vancouver, British Columbia
WinnerA+ Award for Student Work
Connery Friesen
University of Manitoba, Canada
WinnerA+ Award for Student Work
Fukui, Japan
Sabina Blasiotti, London, U.K.
Bartlett School of Architecture, London, U.K. (Professors: Jonathan Hill and Elizabeth Dow)