Miranda da Boa Viagem
24210-390 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Outside the city
tel: 21 2620 2400
Tuesday to Sunday, 10am-6pm
The Niterói Contemporary Art Museum presents a frequently changing selection of the best of Brazilian contemporary art, focusing on sculpture, textiles and painting. Designed by Oscar Niemeyer with the assistance of structural engineer Bruno Contarini, who had worked with Niemeyer on earlier projects, the MAC-Niterói is 16 meters high; its cupola has a diameter of 50 meters with three floors. The museum projects itself over Boa Viagem ("Bon Voyage," "Good Journey"), the 817-square meter reflecting pool that surrounds the cylindrical base "like a flower," in the words of Niemeyer. A wide access slope leads to a Hall of Expositions, which has a capacity for sixty people. Two doors lead to the viewing gallery, through which can be seen the Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro, and Sugarloaf Mountain. The saucer-shaped modernist structure, which has been likened to a UFO, is set on a cliffside, at the bottom of which is a beach. Given the alien quality of Rio's landscape, it seems appropriate that the form of the museum should most obviously suggest a flying saucer, seemingly poised for take-off on the edge of the water. Cantilevered out from a stout central stalk, the saucer-like volume of the building has an unmistakable iconic presence, its seductive, sci-fi geometry creating a new landmark for the district.