A sustainable, futuristic museum that allows us to travel through time.
By Walter Raymond
The Museu do Amanhã (Museum of Tomorrow) is a majestic structure that soars 60 feet up to the sky in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Built to function under the precepts of sustainable architecture, the museum, which opened last December, has a shape that simulates a prehistoric animal to suggest time travel. The journey begins with the Big Bang, through the evolution of the universe and humanity, and across hypothetical future scenarios based on technological advances, population growth, and climate change, among other factors.
The new building is part of the significant redevelopment of the port district, in downtown Rio, for the upcoming 2016 Olympic Games. It will showcase various attractions such as a giant aquarium, art galleries, corporate buildings and a gastronomic center, all interconnected via an electric trolley.
The Museum of Tomorrow represents Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava’s most important work in Latin America. Calatrava sought inspiration in the bromeliads he found in Rio’s Botanical Gardens. The plant, native to Brazil, has thick, overlapping leaves that hold rainwater and organic material—like a bucket—creating a small habitat that interacts with the exterior. The building also integrates Calatrava’s signature features including white and curvy forms with mobile structures. For a flawless use of natural light, the architect introduces housing wings, in a row, covered with solar panels to supply clean energy to the entire building.
Moreover, the cooling system works with filtered and processed seawater. The gardens and green spaces also heed the ecological call with an irrigation system that uses rainwater.
One of the primary goals of the Museum of Tomorrow is to explain the three dimensions of human existence: matter, life, and thought. Museum curator, Luiz Alberto Oliveira, Ph.D. in cosmology and a physicist at the Brazilian Center for Physics Research, believes the area dedicated to the future will incorporate tomorrow’s six major trends: climate change; population growth and longevity; greater integration and diversification; technological advances; modification of biodiversity, and expanding knowledge.
The concept of the museum is to promote awareness of the imprint that humans leave in the geographic, atmospheric and cultural environments as well as biodiversity. In short, a place to hasten ideas and to invite you to interact with technology, culture, art and science. ■
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