Calatrava's "Museum of Tomorrow" For Rio de Janeiro

The Museu do Amanha, or Museum of Tomorrow, designed by Santiago Calatrava breaks ground this month in Rio as the city prepares to host several high-profile events including the United Nation's 2012 Earth Summit, the 2014 World Cup, and the 2016 Summer Olympics.  Located on Pier Maua, adjacent to Rio's main cruise ship terminal, the museum will anchor a $2.8 billion waterfront redevelopment plan called "Marvelous Port".  The 134,549 square-foot building and surrounding 5.4 acres of gardens and pools will showcase science and sustainability, suggesting a path for future, greener development.  "It will be a living museum and pedagogical tool", Calatrava explained.  "We want it to exemplify ecology for young people who've never heard about it.  They'll be able to see how things work with their own eyes".

The building has many sustainable features, but the most prominent feature is a series of photovoltaic panels protruding from its steel roof.  During daylight hours, they will tilt to follow the sun's course across the sky.  Other pedagogic green features include pools to capture rain water for use in the plumbing system, as well as pools that naturally filter water from the bay.  Pumps will harvest sea water, moreover, to cool interior rooms and galleries- all features that could earn LEED certification from the Green Building Council Brazil. The interactive exhibits will contextualize sustainability within Brazil's landscape.

Another interesting proposal by RAFAA, is the Solar City Tower.  The tower will consist of an artificial water fall in Rio's harbor, powered by photovoltaic panel that would power pumps to carry sea water 344 feet above the bay.  It will then send water tumbling down past electricity- generating turbines that would help power athlete housing during the 2016 Olympics.  The energy generated by the sun can be used to power the city during the day, and excess energy from the turbines can be used for evening power.

Read an extended article at Architectural Record.

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