By Natalia Revelo
O Museu do Amanhã, or Museum of Tomorrow, is a major project that forms part of Rio de Janeiro’s 15-year and R$8 billion urban revitalization plan called Porto Maravilha Urban Operation that aims to rebuild the city’s waterfront in a planned and innovative way. The mission of this project is to “integrate and enable urban areas with the aim of giving everyone the right to a sustainable city.” This urban revitalization project was a commitment made to the international Olympic committee as part of the bid to host the 2016 Olympics. The site for the Museu do Amanhã is located next to Pier Mauá in the bairro da Saúde in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and it was projected to open during the first half of 2015, but probably won’t be completed until late 2015 to early 2016. This site is important to the “Porto Maravilha” project because it signifies a new trend towards sustainable architecture for the city of Rio de Janeiro and the revival of a historical charged space.
The design for the Museu do Amanhã was proposed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, a major player in sustainable architecture. He claims to have drawn inspiration for this project from the natural landscape of Rio de Janeiro and that the design celebrates those characteristics. The building will extend to encompass the majority of the pier as a reflection of the extension of the pier into the bay. In total the museum grounds will cover 320,000 square feet including gardens, a reflecting pool, a bike path, and a recreational area, and over 160,000 square feet will be the floor space of the museum building. The building’s futuristic design will feature a cantilevered roof and a bright white façade with moving elements that will be used to hold solar panels. The overall shape of the building is reminiscent of a starship in a futuristic film. The museum will have 2 stories connected by ramps. In the first story there will be a store, an auditorium, temporary exhibition areas, research and education areas and a restaurant. The second story will be reserved for long-term exhibitions, a belvedere to enjoy they view, and a café. The architecture of the museum launches Rio into a new futuristic style that exemplifies human and nature coexistence through its sustainability core ideal.
The museum was designed with the idea of sustainability in mind as it launches Rio into a new amanhã. The museum will be constructed out of recyclable materials and they will be manufactured close to the site so as to minimize the carbon footprint. Calatrava projects the museum to be completely self-sufficient. The water of Guanabara Bay will be used as the building’s cooling system. It is a heat exchange system and was carefully designed so as to not harm the marine life. Rainwater and used water will be used to flush toilets and irrigate the gardens. The architecture of the building will also take advantage of natural ventilation and cross-breezes. As previously mentioned, the solar panels will be attached to the roof of the building and will be used to generate its own electricity. The structures the panels are on were designed to be moveable in order to maximize the amount of sunlight captured at all times of the day.
The driving characteristic of amanhã is embodied by the building both inside and outside. The curator Luiz Alberto Oliveira, from CBPF (Centro Brasileiro de Pesquisas Fisicas), and artistic director Andres Clerici have a plan for this museum of science to serve as a space for the public to reflect on the impact of human actions on the planet. The inside of the museum will be populated by outstanding installations; such as audio-visual spaces, interactive installations, games with information about the planet and more. The museum will explore themes of the cosmos, context, the Anthropocene, and Tomorrow. The mission of the museum is to inform its visitors of the current state of the planet and the possible future, and to inform on how to construct a better tomorrow. The journey through the museum will culminate at a final opening where coexistence and sustainability are explored leaving the visitors aware that they are the part of the process for building a better amanhã. The organization and goals of this museum corresponds to a new generation of museums that not only presents history and experiences of the present, but also transmits ideas to the public.
The Museu do Amanhã points the city of Rio towards the direction of a bright future, but the pier that it sits on holds a troubled history that the government and the project coordinators gloss over. The Pier Maua used to be one of the main slave ports for Brazil during the 16th century, where millions of slaves and immigrants passed through. The idea of tomorrow that the museum solely focuses on is on the coexistence of humans, as a collective, and nature and it gives no acknowledgement to the pier’s past.
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d a café. The architecture of the museum launches Rio into a new futuristic style that exemplifies human and nature coexistence through its sustainability core ideal.