Museu do Amanhã (Museum of Tomorrow)
It looks like the wing of an insect or the barbed petal of a meat–eating plant, or maybe the extended arm of a discus thrower wearing Y3K gladiator garb. Whatever it calls to mind, the Museum of Tomorrow is pure Santiago Calatrava. The architect deployed his signature ribs and spikes to create a futuristic–looking shell for the science museum housed within. Solar panels move with the sun, like giant sunflowers, and the building’s cantilevered roof reaches for the sea on one end, while on the opposite end it juts out over a plaza, creating a shaded area for visitors to contemplate which locally and sustainably produced dish or coffee to get from the onsite Fazenda Culinária café. Step inside and you’ll be taken along a series of displays that focus on ecology more than technology, and on human impact more than innovation (not counting the building, of course). In this revitalized downtown port area, known these days as Porto Maravilha (marvellous port), you’ll also find the Museu de Arte do Rio (MAR), which opened in 2013 in three disused buildings. Its undulating roof connects the 20th–century mansion Palacete Dom João VI (which holds the exhibition space), with the modernist former central bus station and a police building (both now home to an art school).