The new Museu do Amanhã supports the revitalization of Rio de Janeiro’s Puerto Maravilha neighbourhood and focuses on the future of our planet
The Museu do Amanhã (The Museum of Tomorrow), an innovative cultural space addressing the future of the planet designed by architect, engineer and artist Santiago Calatrava, will open this week in the burgeoning Puerto Maravilha neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
"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 Santiago 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 design of the Museum is inspired by the Carioca culture and through its architecture, explores the relationship between the city and the natural environment. The Museum includes 5,000 sq m of temporary and permanent exhibition space, as well as a 7,600 sq m plaza that wraps around the structure and extends along the dock. The building features large overhangs 75 m in length on the side facing the square and 45 m in length on the side facing the sea. These features highlight the extension of the Museum from the dock into the bay. The permanent exhibition is housed upstairs, and features a roof 10 m high with panoramic views of Guanabara Bay. The total height of the building is limited to 18 m, which protects the view from the bay of Sao Bento Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The cantilevering roof with its large mobile wings and the facade structure runs almost the full length of the pier emphasizing the extension into the Guanabara Bay, while minimizing the building's width. A reflection pool surrounding the building on the outside - used to filter water that is being pumped from the bay and released back in from the end of the pier - gives visitors the impression that the Museum is floating.
"The idea is that the building feels ethereal, almost floating on the sea, like a ship, a bird or a plant. Because of the changing nature of the exhibits, we have introduced an archetypal structure inside the building. This simplicity allows for the functional versatility of the Museum, able to accommodate conferences or act as a research space," said Mr Calatrava.
Located on the Maua Pier, the Museum of Tomorrow is part of a larger revitalization of Porto Maravilha, the port neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro. The project allows for better integration between the Port District and the city centre and is helping to make this area one of the most attractive neighbourhoods in the city. The building "is the result of a consistent dialogue. The building was built to be a museum for the future, and an educational unit," said Mr Calatrava.
The building features sustainable design, incorporating natural energy and light sources. Water from the bay is used to regulate the temperature inside the building; this source also supplies water for the Museum’s surrounding reflecting pools. The Museum also uses photovoltaic solar panels, which can be adjusted to optimize the angle of the sun's rays throughout the day and generate solar energy to supply the building.