Sunny Rio de Janeiro will host the next Summer Olympics in 2016. As our world and technological savvy have increased in recent decades, so have the Olympics become a showcase for massive, expensive and cutting-edge design and construction. And what else could be as cutting-edge right now as renewable power? So Swiss architects have proposed the Solar City Tower to the city of Rio.
The Tower would stand on a small island off Rio’s coast, 300 feet (90 meters) above sea level, and consist of a giant vertical waterfall. Solar-powered pumps would push water to the top of the main wall, and as it falls back down the water would spin turbines to create renewable hydroelectricity. The waterfall would be the symbolic figurehead of a larger solar power plant designed to create enough renewable energy to make the 2016 Olympic games carbon neutral.
The design has been put forth by Swiss architectural firm RAFAA. The environmental theme is both an homage to the 1992 UN Earth Summit, also held in Rio, and a future without fossil-fueled energy.
According to RAFAA, “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.”
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