Rio de Janeiro is famous for its beaches, its carnival celebrations, its rich musical traditions, and the massive Christ the Redeemer statue that overlooks the whole city. For environmentalists, Rio is remembered as that hosted the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit, a landmark in global environmental awareness. When the coastal Brazilian city hosts the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, a gigantic artificial waterfall will give Rio de Janeirans something else to brag about.
Say the architects:
"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. This project represents a message of a society facing the future; thus, it is the representation of an inner attitude. Our project, standing in the tradition of "a building/city as a machine", shall provide energy both to the city of Rio de Janeiro and its citizens while using natural resources."
The building is equipped with solar panels designed to help Rio meet its goal of producing the first ever zero-carbon Olympics. By day, the panels gather solar energy which is used to pump seawater up into the tower. The seawater is then released at night, powering turbines that produce electricity. Then, on special occasions, the tower can be transformed into an urban waterfall, the first of its kind.
Aside from Solar City Tower's clean energy-producing characteristics, the structure will also be home to an amphitheater, auditorium, cafeteria, shops, and an observation deck 105 feet above sea level.