Museum of Tomorrow

Museum of Tomorrow (59)

Finally, tomorrow is already here. 

In fact, this futuristic museum has taken a lot of effort to be ready. But, finally, you can enjoy this work that has cost more than 60 million euros. Located on the refurbished Praça de Mauá, within the ambitious project called Porto Maravilha, for the recovery of the historic centre and the old and abandoned port area.  

The first major work in Latin America by the Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava, which he says is inspired by a tropical plant, more specifically, the bromeliads at the Botanical Garden. 

This great flower, spanning 15,000 square metres, seems to float over Guanabara Bay and is built according to strict sustainability standards, which has earned it the Leed Certificate.

The museum is a tribute to science and technology, in addition to representing man's past through art. With a clear scientific objective, its aim is to show the public the power of man in order to change the world.

The museum, with around 30,000 square metres of halls, gardens, reflecting pools and leisure areas, is based on the idea that, in the next five decades, more changes will occur on Earth than in the last ten thousand years. For the curator of the museum, Luiz Alberto Oliveira, physicist and doctor in Cosmology, the future will be built on the basis of six major trends of tomorrow: climate change; population growth and longevity; greater integration and diversification; technological advances, changes in biodiversity and expansion of knowledge.

With this museum, Rio is at the architectural forefront globally and, at the same time, updates its museum offer. A new generation of science museums is inaugurated in the world. Through audiovisual means, interactive facilities and games, you can make a trip back in time up to the moment of the Big Bang, in order to try to understand the processes of evolution of Earth and man from that point onwards, analyse current trends in terms of advances in technology, the growth of world population and climate change, and imagine what would be the possible future for humanity in the next 50 years, depending on the decisions we make today.

To the characteristic curves and white forms of Calatrava's designs, this time he adds light.  The architect has installed a mobile cover designed to maximise natural light, which, in turn, houses an impressive steel structure forming a row of "wings" covered by more than 6,000 small solar panels that can be adjusted to the angle of the sun rays throughout the day, thus being capable of generating up to 40% of the necessary energy on a daily basis.

In addition, the 9,200 square metres of water mirrors that form the museum basis are fed by the waters of Guanabara Bay, like all the building's cooling system. The system creates a pleasant temperature inside, but also filters and processes the water it then returns clean to the sea. 

And it features, of course, gardens, which locals love; thus, 6,000 square metres of gardens surrounding the museum have been planned and designed by the landscaping studio, Burle Marx, which will also be watered organically through a system that uses rainwater.

"The gardens feature plants from the Atlantic forest, which is a world heritage; so that young people realise their importance, we filter and use the bay water to send the message that one day it will be completely clean ... This is an architecture that addresses people", Calatrava explained.

The building, whose height was limited to 18 metres, so that it did not shield the view of Guanabara Bay from the neighbouring buildings, features on its top floor, for the permanent exhibition, a 10-metre-high ceiling, from which you can see the whole port area.

Inside, the exhibition area is divided into 5 sections: Cosmos, Earth, Anthropocene, Tomorrows and Now, so that visitors can make a time journey through the history of the universe and, especially, of our Earth since its formation, then through the appearance of man and its impact on it. You can enjoy up to 53 different experiences, including videos, games, interactive presentations and photographs.

In the section called Tomorrows, the Museum of Tomorrow becomes a kind of Museum of the Future, inviting us to think about different possible future scenarios which we are heading to. Finally, through entertaining games, you can measure the footprint that each of us is leaving on the planet and the impact our small daily actions have on it. 

The tour is structured by five universal questions: Where do we come from, who are we, where are we, where are we going and how do we want to go. You will get some answers by means of the interactive activities.

The visit begins in the egg-shaped room, in which the filmmaker Fernando Meirelles, director of City of God, projects a 360-degree mini-documentary on the evolution of Earth and humankind. The visitor travels visually and musically from the Big Bang to the megalopolis. This is followed by interactive displays, games and a space, somewhat distressing, in which 10-metre-high totems transmit images at high speed on the human footprint on the climate and cities, as well as the challenges arising from 10 billion people populating the planet by 2060, as expected.

Of course, in addition to the permanent exhibition, the museum hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions, workshops, presentations and an Observatory of Tomorrow, sort of a radar designed to monitor the progress of science, culture and technology in the world, thus trying to identify opportunities, threats and challenges of our society in the future.

This turns the Museum of Tomorrow into a research and information institution not only for Rio de Janeiro and the whole of Brazil, but also for everyone. A place where you become aware of the future that awaits us, according to how we behave today.

And, now, we welcome you to tomorrow.

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