Our visual identity

The cobogo and Education at PUC-Rio

The concept behind the image of the Department of Education at PUC-Rio emerges from the redesign of its website. Above all, it aims to express the way in which we, as an academic collective, recognize ourselves in our mission of reflecting on Education in Brazil. The inspiration for our visual identity comes from the cobogo, a Brazilian architectural element that separates while including, shades while letting light pass through, stops the wind while letting it blow, hides while revealing. Genuinely Brazilian yet also of foreign inspiration, the cobogo has an indefinite and, for that very reason, fascinating biography. The historical sources, in general, confirm that these hollow blocks were developed by the Portuguese national Amadeu Oliveira Coimbra, by the German national Ernest August Boeckmann and by the Brazilian national Antônio de Góis, formed by the first two letters of their last names – Co, Bo and Go – giving birth to its name. But the consensus is not the same when it comes to defining its locus of creation. Some sources claim that the cobogo was developed in Pernambuco, the Brazilian northeastern state, more precisely in its capital city, Recife. Other sources, in contrast, claim that the cobogo was created by the trio during a mission to the Arab Emirates. This last piece of information is not surprising given that this Brazilian architectural creation refers to the muxarabi, an element of Arabic architecture used as an adornment in windows and passages but with the same purposes as those of our cobogo. 

Os tensionamentos e trânsitos que materializam o cobogó, permitem acompanhar os movimentos que compõem nosso Departamento. Nos últimos anos, temos passado por uma renovação importante do corpo docente, que coloca em interlocução professores de diferentes gerações acadêmicas e agrega novos interesses e áreas de pesquisa às investigações conduzidas por nosso corpo docente e discente. Como o cobogó que parte de uma forma tradicional – o muxarabi – to narrate Modernism in Brazilian architecture, the innovations in our department do not result from the production of the new as a rupture or disruption with the past but, above all, as an exercise of creativity with what we find in the world and of what was endowed to us. It is thus through an oscillation between tradition and invention that we continue to remake the identity of the Department of Education at PUC-Rio, taking it not as fixed but also not, for that reason, unrooted. 

Last but not least, the cobogo’s porosity – which stops the wind while letting it flow – speaks not only of our joint efforts but refers also to the porous concept of Education that emerges from our research: education that takes place at school, but also outside it; which does not overlap with school but rather extrapolates from it. This makes it possible to address the education of teachers, students and apprentices together with the history of education, public policies and the micropolitics involved in all of these instances. This micropolitics includes that of the school space, the classroom and non-school learning, which take place in museums, in community activities, in streets, in squares, in workshops and in houses. This allows us to incorporate new research themes while reiterating the relevance, for the field of education, of themes such as gender, race, body, art, aesthetics and technology, among others.