As the Olympics approach, stains on Rio’s architecture, infrastructure

As the olympics approach, stains on rio’s architecture, infrastructure
Museu do Amanha (Museum of Tomorrow) in Rio de Janeiro’s port zone / © Sergio Moraes/Reuters

The construction frenzy tied to the Olympics should lead to much-needed infrastructure improvements, and the Rio Olympics did spur the development of a number of museums and cultural institutions. But that development – often conducted behind closed doors, with little public accountability – has come at a cost.

Two blocks after leaving my hotel, my Uber passed one of these new museums: the MIS (Museu da Imagem e do Som, or “Museum of Image and Sound”).

An elegant and complex structure designed by American architects Diller, Scofidio and Renfro, the building – which broke ground in 2014 but won’t be ready in time for the Olympics – projects a series of ramps on the main facade. The visitors will have a hard time deciding if they should look to the collection inside or to the bright Copacabana beach outside. I commend the architects for offering the choice instead of blocking the view (as others proposed). Nevertheless, a recent Ph.D. dissertation by scholar Lidia Quieto revealed how opaque the competition process – organized by the powerful Roberto Marinho Foundation, the cultural arm of the Brazilian media conglomerate Rede Globo – really was.

Does it have to be like that? Could an architectural competition be held with transparency and public spirit in mind?

Apparently, not in Rio. […]

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Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today.