Time Out Rio de Janeiro

Parties at the Olympics

Rio will have 52 themed houses during the Games 

During the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games 2016, the city will have 52 hospitality houses – themed houses that will promote the countries’ culture, tourism, cuisine, sport and business industry, as well as broadcast live the major competition events. There will also be two TV studios: the Ipanema View Studios – set up in Arpoador by the Swiss and Austrian TV networks – and the American NBC TV network Studio, at Praça Almirante Júlio de Noronha, in Leme. During the Beijing 2008 Games and the London 2012 Games, hospitality houses were among the most sought-after spots by the public, and the same success is expected during the Rio 2016 Games.

The City Hall, through the Municipal Olympic Company (EOM), is responsible for the relationship between government agencies and the countries that have chosen to establish their themed houses in public areas. According to Joaquim Monteiro, president of the EOM, these countries will give back to the city with projects and renovation works.

“We assessed the logistics and planning of the themed homes to ensure that they would work in synergy with the city’s operations during the Games. The areas allocated for the themed houses will be used free of charge, but all countries have pledged to collaborate with projects that benefit both the city and the locals.”

As a form of legacy work, Switzerland will renovate the baseball field in Lagoa, while the Arpoador Studio will make improvements in the Fishermen’s Village in the same district. The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) will carry out repair works in Cícero Pena Municipal School, in Copacabana, where they will stay. Country host of the 2020 Games, Japan and its themed house will finance a year of cultural activities in Cidade das Artes, an arts complex in Barra da Tijuca region. Denmark will donate LEGO educational kits to all the Municipal Child Development Centers (EDI in Portuguese; a nursery cum pre-school establishment – t.n.) in the city, as well as a giant model of iconic Olympic and tourist attractions. Danemark will also donate 60 bicycles to the city guard.

Hospitality houses will be scattered over the City Center (12), Barra da Tijuca (14) and the South Zone (26), and divided into two categories: open houses (25), which are open to the general public; and closed houses (27), set up for authorities, the Olympic Family, athletes and guests, as is the case of the United States, the UK, Italy and Canada. In most open houses admission is free, with the exception of France, Netherlands, Qatar and Jamaica.

The Rio 2016 Africa house is among the largest themed houses the public can visit during the Rio 2016 Games. It will be set up in CasaShopping, Barra da Tijuca, and will be open from Aug 1 to 21. To enter visitors will receive a card resembling a boarding pass. After checking in, they will be directed to Fly to Africa, an aircraft simulator with capacity for 56 passengers that will screen videos with tourist and cultural information. About 30,000 people are expected to turn up at Africa House, which was also set during the London Games.

“We are going to represent 54 African countries and 54 Olympic Committees from Africa. We will hold various business seminars, dedicating the first week to Brazil and Africa’s agribusiness, the second to tourism and foreign trade, and the third to information technology, machinery and equipment, and mining,” explained João Gilberto Vaz, ambassador of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ACNOA).

The Mexico House will be set up at Rio’s National History Museum, located Downtown, from August 4 to 21. The exhibitions and the lounge area will be open to the public, and turnout is estimated at 1,000 people a day. There will be three events – an archaeological exhibition of pre-Hispanic civilizations in the Gulf of Mexico; an interactive exhibition on artist Frida Kahlo; and “Latin America, the Olympic Games: Mexico 68 – Rio 2016”, a comparative exhibition on the graphics used at the Rio and Mexico Olympic Games.

“This house is a gift from Mexico to the Brazilian people and to all those who will take part in the Olympic Games. So we decided to bring a bit of our country and culture,” said Adolfo Zepeda Soria, Consul for Cultural Affairs at the Consulate General of Mexico in Rio de Janeiro.

As the host country, Brazil will base its hospitality house in two old warehouses in the Port Region, next to the Olympic Boulevard, where visitors can taste Brazilian coffee, chocolate, cachaça and wine. There will also be reality simulators and sports activities. The Colombia House will, too, emphasize its local cuisine, offering Colombian coffee and exotic fruits like lulo, feijoa and borojó. With a different approach, the Australia House will give visitors information on life Down Under and how to study in the country.

The Portuguese Olympic Committee will bring to Rio the Training Ship Sagres, which may receive up to 10,000 visitors per day. The sailing vessel was built in 1937 and will be moored in Ilha das Cobras from August 3 to 21. Germany will have two houses. In the South Zone, the OliAle Pavilion will be open to the general public in Leblon Beach (Posto 11), from Aug 4 to Sep 18, 2.30 – 9.30 pm, while the closed house in Barra da Tijuca will be the official residence of the German Olympic Committee.

“The OliAle is an opportunity for us to present Germany as it genuinely is: open, communicative, modern, festive and multicultural. We want to strengthen our ties with Brazil and leave good memories of the German presence at the Rio 2016 Games,” said Rayanne Azevedo, PR Advisor for the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Among the attractions planned for the OliAle pavilion are concerts, happy hours, a permanent exhibition on sustainability, kiosks with German food and beer, an area for taking pictures, sports tournaments with prizes, sports and recreational activities (slackline, foosball, volleyball, foot volley, altinho, basketball, table tennis), giveaways, artistic interventions and big screens to broadcast the games.

Also in the South Zone, the Austria House – the themed house of the Olympic Committee of Austria (ÖOC) – will based in the headquarters of Clube do Botafogo de Futebol e Regatas, in Botafogo, and will be open from August 5 to 21, 10 am – 9 pm, with free admission. The site will be an open space of approximately 800 sq. meters with capacity for 450 visitors in the public area and 250 guests in the VIP area.

The public will get to experience the Austrian hospitality and traditional music, as well as enjoy specialties of Austrian cuisine, like Wiener Schnitzel, Tiroler Gröstl and Kaiserschmarrn, and typical drinks, including beer and wine. In the Austria House, guests will be introduced to a Gastgarten, a typical Austrian garden for social gatherings. All bread and cake available will be prepared at an on-site bakery.

Club France will be set up amidst the charm of the horse racing tracks located near Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. The Jamaica House, in Gávea, promise a lot of reggae. Qatar will transform the historic building of Casa Daros in a typical Arab souk, where you can enjoy shawarmas (a dish served in pita bread with vegetables and other garnishes) and get henna tattoos. In Ipanema, Denmark will display a large-scale model of a building made entirely of Legos.

In the House of Switzerland, visitors can ice skate on a 200-sq. meters track and sample chocolate, raclette and other delicacies. The area will be based in Lagoa, where the popular Baixo Suíça was also assembled during the 2014 World Cup. Activities offered include picnics, live broadcast of the Games on a big screen and a giant snow globe simulating the Alps.

Check out the addresses of houses open to the public:

Barra da Tijuca

Africa – Avenida Ayrton Senna, 2150 – Casa Shopping

Japan Tokyo 2020 – Avenida das Américas, 5300 – Cidade das Artes

Czech Republic – Avenida das Américas, 3434 – Centro Empresarial Mario Henrique Simonsen (zehanova@olympic.cz)

Downtown / Port Region

Australia – Praça Quinze de Novembro, 20 – Centro de Convenções da Bolsa do Rio – City Center

Colombia – Praça Marechal Ancora, 15 – Centro Cultural Ministério da Saúde – City Center

Japan – Tokyo Metropolitan Government – Praça Quinze de Novembro, 48 – Paço Imperial – City Center

Mexico – Praça Marechal Ancora, n.n. – National History Museum – Centre (prensa@consulmexrio.com.br)

Correios (sponsor) – Rua Visconde de Itaboraí, 20 – Centro Cultural dos Correios – City Center

Brasil House – Via Expressa (formerly Avenida Rodrigues Alves), 10 – Warehouse 2 – Píer Mauá, Gamboa

Coca-Cola (sponsor) – Warehouse 3 – Píer Mauá, Gamboa

Espaço Rio de Janeiro – Via Expressa (formerly Avenida Rodrigues Alves), 303 – Fábrica de Espetáculos do Theatro Municipal – Port Region

NBA (sports organization) – Via Expressa (formerly Avenida Rodrigues Alves) – Warehouse 6 – Píer Mauá, Gamboa (mpcrio@mpcrio.com)

Portugal – Training Ship Sagres – Cais da Portuguesa – Ilha das Cobras

South Zone

Germany OliAle – Leblon Beach, near Jardim de Alah

Austria – Avenida Venceslau Brás, 72 – Clube de Regatas Botafogo, General Severiano – Botafogo

Qatar – Rua General Severiano, 159 – Casa Daros Rio – Botafogo

Denmark – Ipanema Beach, near Jardim de Alah

France – Avenida Lineu de Paula Machado, 2448 – Sociedade Hípica Brasileira – Lagoa (hugo@mktmix.com.br)

Hungria – Budapest 2024 – Tribuna C do Joquey Clube – Gávea

Netherlands – Avenida Borges de Medeiros, 701 – Clube Monte Líbano – Lagoa (marianne.azevedo@csm.com)

Jamaica – Praça Santos Dumont, 31 – Restaurante Prado Grill – Gávea

Panasonic (sponsor) – Praia Vermelha – Urca

PyeongChang 2018 – Avenida Atlântica, n.n., Orla Rio Kiosk in Copacabana Beach – Leme (carla@ciadedivulgacao.com.br)

Switzerland – Baseball Field – Lagoa, near Corte do Cantagalo (vanessa.bonanno@approach.com.br)

Technogym (sponsor) – Posto 10 – Ipanema

Words by Time Out Rio de Janeiro editors
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