Architect and Urban Planner Hélia Nacif Dies

Hélia Nacif Xavier

 

Rio World Capital of Architecture mourns the death of architect and urban planner Hélia Nacif Xavier, last Sunday (07/19). Hélia was the Secretary of Urbanism of Rio de Janeiro City Hall, throughout the 4 years term of Mayor Luiz Paulo Conde, when she carried out an important administrative reform, based on her studies at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation.

She was also responsible for restructuring the environmental aspects at the Center for Urban Studies and Research of the Environmental Department of the Brazilian Institute of Municipal Administration (IBAM), which opened in 1992. To carry out this work, she was on a leave from the Government of the State of Rio de Janeiro.

The architect had experience in the field of Architecture and Urbanism, working mainly with urbanistic and environmental management, urban planning, environment, and Brazilian cities. She has also worked as a professor.

Hélia had a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture and Urban Planning from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (1973), a masters degree in Production Engineering from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (1977) and a Ph.D. in Urban Planning from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (2011).

The prestigious architect had been battling cancer for the last 14 years, through which she has never lost her commitment to her profession. She was 69, married, and had 2 children and a granddaughter.

Architects and other people who spent time with Hélia commented about her death with sadness and appreciation. That’s the case of Sérgio Magalhães, president of the Executive Committee of the 27th World Congress of Architects – UIA 2021.

– I deeply regret the passing of my dear colleague Hélia Nacif, someone who relentlessly fought for urban planning and life.

Graça Neves, who was Helia’s advisor during her four years as Secretary of Urbanism at Rio de Janeiro City Hall, stated:

– Hélia added to her profession’s specific and necessary technical knowledge the belief that good public policies are made possible through appropriate management practices. This was a milestone in her professional life.

Sérgio Rodrigues Bahia, a Professor at the Fluminense Federal University (UFF), worked alongside Hélia at IBAM and talked about her exquisite work.

– From this experience, which I could follow closely, I can tell that she was always concerned about technical work. At the Municipal Secretariat of Urbanism, she worked for the decentralization of activities, going as far as the internal organization of the workspaces, optimizing public resources.

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