Saturday, March 26, 2011

Amazing Top Olympic Tower 2016 - Rio de Janeiro

The Solar City Tower is a concept envisaged by Zurich based architecture and design studio RAFAA. The design was created for a competition in 2009. The images show an artist’s
impression of what the proposed tower might look like if constructed. However, the project is just a proposal and the tower may never actually be built.

This vertical structure will be placed in Cotonduba Island. It will be both a observation Tower, and a welcome sign for the visitors arriving by air and by sea at Rio de Janeiro, where the Olympic Games 2016 will take place.

The project is from Zurique, and utilizes solar energy during the day with its solo power panels, to pump the sea water as seen in the model. The movement of the water will be also utilized to turn the turbines and produce the power to work the system at night time.

In the Solo City Tower is the Cafe anfiteatre, auditórium, shops etc. lifts will take the visitors to the top, where the view will be fantastic, and bungee jumping will have a special platform.

Detailed Analysis:
According to this message, attached images depict an innovative solar-powered tower that will be built at Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic Games. The message claims that the structure will be placed on an island at the entrance to Rio as a welcome to visitors and will generate energy via solar panels during the day and via water turbines at night.

However, at the time of writing, the Solar City Tower is just a proposal and it is unclear if the project will actually go ahead. The design for the tower was created by Zurich based architecture and design studio RAFAA. In response to my enquiry about the project, Rafael Schmidt, the director at RAFAA, replied with the following information:

Dear Brett Christensen,

Please let me first clarify the state of the project. The Solar City Tower was a proposal for a competition in 2009. As it had drawn great media attention in the last months, we decided to contact the President of Rio 2016 again. We don't have any confirmation from the local authorities so far and don't know if this project will ever happen! Therefore the design is in a very early stage and we are facing lots of technical problems. Even though we have done some research in this field, a solid cost estimation or an energy consumption of this building is not possible at the moment.

Best Regards
Rafael Schmidt

RAFFAA has more details about the proposal on its website, including the following description of the project's concept:

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. We hope to attain an international Olympic message with a political appeal. After hosting the United Nation’s Earth Summit in 1992, Rio de Janeiro will once again be the starting point for a global green movement and for a sustainable development of urban structures. It will perhaps even become a symbol for the first zero carbon footprint Olympic Games.

The tower is certainly an interesting and innovative proposal. However, quite a few of the many blog posts that discuss this project imply that the Solar Tower will definitely be built. As noted above, this is not the case. To reiterate, the Solar Tower is currently just a proposal and, in fact, the project may never go ahead.

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