We knew it might end one day, and so it has. The vacant lot had an owner, Octávio Raja Gabaglia, an architect, a former city councilman, and the man singlehandedly responsible for the distinct, low-rise profile Búzios enjoys to this day. While serving in the city council back in the ’70s, Octávio, or Otavinho as he’s called, introduced a law that prohibited construction above two stories, with the second story occupying only 50% of the area of the first story. The result? There are absolutely no highrises in Búzios, period. City governments have come and city governments have gone, but this law remains untouched and unchallenged (except by scofflaws, but that’s another story). Without this law Búzios would look — well, just like any other beach resort around the world.
It would look like Miami,
like Rio de Janeiro,
or even like Cabo Frio, a mere half hour by car from Búzios.
Got the idea? Instead, Búzios looks like this —
But back to our lot, where Otavinho is eager finally to build the house he projected many years ago. In a spirit of good neighborliness he has made several visits to our house, blueprints in hand, both to enlist our cooperation and calm our worst fears. We’re not going to enjoy the year of construction that’s ahead of us, the noise and the dirt and all, but we will find it fascinating to watch a house — particularly an Otavinho-designed house — go up before our very eyes.
It used to look like this from the beach —
But now it looks like this —
And where I used to gaze at the ever-changing scene —
This is what we see now —
. . . to be continued.