Modern architecture in Rio's Museum of Tomorrow

Fabio Jardelino | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Rio de Janeiro is well-known for its beauty worldwide: not just for its natural landscapes, but also its engineering miracles, like the statue of Christ the Redeemer, or the cable car at the Pão de Açúcar hill, or even the amazing Maracanã football Stadium. Since 2015, the Museum of Tomorrow (in Portuguese, Museu do Amanhã), joined that list! It is a wonder designed by the famous Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, especially for the Olympic Games of Rio, in 2016. In this article, I will drive you through this museum and its curiosities. 


The Museum of Tomorrow was intended to be a non-time related piece of art, something that represents the eternal "tomorrow." The project was the result of a public-private partnership between the Federal Government of Brazil, the State and City Government of Rio,** and the private sector, in 2014. The goal was to showcase Brazil **as the country of tomorrow. 

© iStock/ R.M. Nunes

For the challenge, Santiago Calatrava was invited. He is worldwide famous for its long columns and iron structures that challenge the physics laws - or at least, this is the feeling you have when you visit his buildings. The construction took around five years to complete and opened to the public in 2015, one year before the Olympic Games. 

The museum's highlights

© Agência Brasil / Tomaz Silva

The Museum of Tomorrow is focused on our existence. Because of this, it is divided between the following sections: Cosmos, Earth, Anthropocene, Tomorrow, and Us. Inside it, you can see the narrative path guided by five main questions: "Where did we come from? Who are we? Where are we? Where are we going? How do we want to go?".  

One of the most popular attractions in the museum is the "Cosmos room" located at the center of the museum. This section is the beginning of the exhibition and features a 360-degree video on the history of humankind. I highly recommend you to go directly there, once you enter the museum because depending on the day, you would probably need to queue. The room features a 360-degree video, immersing the visitor in a technological adventure.

© iStock/ ValterCunha

Another amazing attraction located at the bottom of the museum is a giant sculpture by Frank Stella, a United States contemporary artist. The sculpture's name is Puffed Star II, a twenty-pointed star, with six meters in diameter. It is located at the water mirror in front of Guanabara Bay - provocating to the visitor an amazing view experience. If you look further, you will also see the  Rio-Niterói Bridge (another architecture wonder of Rio de Janeiro) and the navy training island - this one, forbidden for visitation.

How to get there

If you are going by car, keep in mind that the Museum does not have its own parking. However, there are private parking lots in the region. Because of this, I do not recommend this option.  If you intend to go by public transportation, there is the VLT (a kind of tram). Just take the line 1 (blue) towards Santos Dumont airport and get off at the “Parada dos Museus.” The VLT station is close to your destination, around 200 meters away from the Museum of Tomorrow. 

© iStock/ visicou

If you want to go by train, just get off at the "Central do Brasil" station and from there take the bus line 225. Going by subway, you have to get off at the "Uruguaiana Station" and walk across the "Avenida Presidente Vargas," by the "Rua Acre."  If you are at the other side of the Guanabara Bay (the cities of Niterói, São Gonçalo, Itaboraí, etc.), there is a ferry option. They drop the visitors to the square named "Praça XV" and, from there, you can have a pleasant walk for 20 minutes. 

Prices and opening times

The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 am to 6 pm. The ticket office is open until 5 pm. The entrance fee is twenty reais for a full price (or so 3,50 euros) and ten reais for the discounted. The place also offers free admission on Tuesdays. 

I hope you enjoy this fantastic experience: visiting the Museum of Tomorrow in Rio should be definitely added to your list while in Brazil. It is one of my favorite places to stroll and enjoy the modern architecture.

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