Santiago Calatrava's Museum of Tomorrow opens in Rio

by Kim Megson | 16 Dec 2015

Rio de Janeiro’s hotly-anticipated Museau do Amanhã (Museum of Tomorrow) – designed by prize-winning Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava – will be officially opened tomorrow (17 December) by the city’s mayor.

The contemporary science museum, which has taken five years to build, is located in the city centre’s Porto Maravilha district – the site of the largest urban development project in Brazil.

The Museum of Tomorrow will allow the public to see the future of Rio and how it will evolve in the next 50 years, looking at climate change, population growth and the fields of matter, life and thoughts.

“We will take you on a journey with immersive audiovisual spaces and interactive installations and games,” said a statement issued by the museum. “The space is a laboratory for innovation experiments and an observatory that maps the planet’s vital signs."

Exploring across two floors and 5,000sq m (53,800sq ft) of exhibition space, visitors can participate in 27 experiments and 35 ‘sub-experiences’ based around the concepts of Earth, the cosmos and the passage of time.

Calatrava – who was awarded the prestigious European Prize for Architecture in November – has designed a futuristic symbol for Rio’s development. The 30,000sq m (323,000sq ft) white-clad complex features a cantilevering roof supporting a series of large mobile wings. The view from the upper floor will provide panoramic views of Rio’s Guanabara Bay and the nearby Sao Bento Monastery.

The lower level contains the lobby, museum store, educational facilities, an auditorium and a restaurant.

Public gardens, a pedestrian walkway and bike paths are located around the museum and a vast reflection pool extends from the front of the museum to the bay, creating the impression from afar that the museum is floating.

"The city of Rio de Janeiro is setting an example to the world of how to recover quality urban spaces through drastic intervention and the creation of cultural facilities such as the Museum of Tomorrow and the new Museum of Art,” said Calatrava.

"This vision led us, in our first designs, to propose the addition of a plaza outside the museum. The plaza creates a more cohesive urban space and reflects the neighbourhood’s greater transformation.”

The museum has been awarded the highest standard of LEED certification for its sustainable elements. Water from the bay will be used in a heat exchanger to cool the building and interior energy will be powered by moving solar panels.

The cost of the museum has not been revealed. The project was developed by the municipality of Rio de Janeiro and the Roberto Marinho Foundation. It received sponsorship from Santander bank and energy firm BG Brazil, plus funding from the government's department of the environment.

Porto Maravilha is at the heart of Rio’s socioeconomic development ambitions, and its regeneration was among the commitments made by the Brazilian government in its successful bid for the 2016 Olympic Games.

The area, which stretches 5 million sq m (53.8m sq ft), is being developed into one of the city’s most attractive locations. New public space is being created, 15,000 trees are being planted, while new cultural sites, including the Art Museum of Rio de Janeiro, will soon join the Museum of Tomorrow in the area.

Earlier this year, Brazil’s minister for tourism Henrique Eduardo Alves told CLAD that investment in Rio’s infrastructure has led to funding for visitor attractions, including the Museum of Tomorrow and the forthcoming Rio Aquarium.

He added these are designed to make Rio, and Brazil in general, a more hospitable and enjoyable destination for tourists coming from overseas.

“These visitor attractions provide a legacy for the Games and a legacy for our people,” he said.

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Rio de Janeiro’s hotly-anticipated Museau do Amanhã (Museum of Tomorrow) – designed by prize-winning Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava – will be officially opened tomorrow (17 December) by the city’s mayor. The contemporary science museum, which has taken five years to build, is located in the city centre’s Porto Maravilha district – the site of the largest urban development project in Brazil. The Museum of Tomorrow will allow the public to
The museum has been designed as a symbol of Rio's exciting future / Santiago Calatrava Architects and Engineers
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