With its burgeoning economy and bold commitments to reducing carbon emissions and deforestation, Brazil is poised to be an important player in the years and decades to come. So for many Brazilian, having their beloved city of Rio de Janeiro selected to host the 2016 Olympic Games presents an opportunity to introduce their nation, on the forefront of the environmental movement, to an international audience. In hopes of creating an icon for Rio's Olympics that's as forward-thinking as the country itself, one firm has designed a structure that symbolizes Brazil's natural beauty and its commitment to a sustainable future.Designed by the Swiss firm RAFAA for the International Architecture Competition for the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, the proposed structure is both beautiful and green. Named the Solar City Tower, the building is adorned with solar panels that can be used to help make Rio's Olympics the first ever zero-carbon games.
Excess energy gathered by the solar panels will be used to pump seawater high into the tower to power turbines, producing energy during the night. For some occasions, the tower can transform into an urban waterfall the designer calls "a symbol for the forces of nature."
The proposal situates the Solar City Tower on one of the island in Guanabara Bay that make up Rio's dramatic natural skyline. Just as the city's iconic Christ the Redeemer statue has come to symbolize Brazil's strong Catholic tradition throughout the last century, the Solar City Tower could represent the nation's role as a green leader in the 21st century--all while contributing to it with its sustainable features.
According to RAFAA:
The aim of this project is to ask how the classic concept of a landmark can be reconsidered. It is less about an expressive, iconic architectural form; rather, it is a return to content and actual, real challenges for the imminent post-oil-era. This project represents a message of a society facing the future; thus, it is the representation of an inner attitude. Our project, standing in the tradition of "a building/city as a machine", shall provide energy both to the city of Rio de Janeiro and its citizens while using natural resources.
In addition the being a machine that produces clean energy, the structure will boast an amphitheater, auditorium, cafeteria and shops in the ground level. Several observation decks will offer visitors yet another view of a city known for its breathtaking vantage points. The proposal even includes a deck for bungee-jumping.
Just as the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio will surely help reinforce Brazil's position as a nation on the rise, both in terms of economic power and as a spearhead of the global green movement--the Solar City Tower may help redefine sustainable urban design.