The Olympic games always seem to be accompanied by bigger, better, more artfully designed facilities built especially for the occasion. Now, in keeping with the times, a concerted effort to make the Olympics sustainable has emerged. The first Olympic buildings to receive LEED certification were at the 2010 Vancouver games. In 2012, London plans to match or exceed this effort. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – the host of the 2016 Olympics – is upping the ante. They are planning to host the first zero-carbon footprint Olympic games – and they’re doing it in a jaw-dropping way.
RAFAA Architecture & Design’s Solar City Tower is a 105-meter tall solar power plant that will produce energy for Rio de Janeiro and the Olympic village in 2016. By day, the solar panels generate power. Any excess energy generated throughout the day is used to pump seawater into a storage tank within the tower. At night, this water is released to power turbines which create more energy for the city. As you might expect, a building of this size and quality also has some pretty interesting “perks.”
The most buzz-worthy aspect of the Solar City Tower is its ability to transform into an “urban waterfall.” Water can be pumped over the edge of the building on special occasions to create a massive waterfall in the city. Visitors can see the waterfall from the streets, the cafeteria area which is directly behind it, as well as a glass sky walk at its summit. For those craving adventure (I’m not at all sure I’d fall into this category), a bungee platform is available on level 90.5.
Rafael Schmidt of RAFAA sheds some light on the idea behind the Solar City Tower. Far from creating just another pretty building, the architects at RAFAA wanted to reconsider the concept of a landmark; Solar City Tower isn’t simply an iconic form, but a machine that can actively provide energy for the city. Its 360° observation decks also make the building representative of a “collective awareness of the city towards its great surrounding landscape.” The waterfall has meaning, too; Schmidt says it is a “symbol of the forces of nature.” I think this is an ideal opportunity to broadcast worldwide the message that sustainability is valuable, is crucial as societies continue to develop. As we celebrate the peak of human physical achievement in 2016, we’ll also be able to praise the intellect, initiative and dedication that make the games sustainable and environmentally responsible.
Filed under: Daily Dose of Masonry | Tagged: architecture, daily dose, green building, linkedin, masonry technology, Olympics 2016, RAFAA, Rio de Janeiro, Solar City Tower, sustainability, urban waterfall |