Brazil, Niterói. When seeing a special building that seems to have been designed by an UFO enthusiast, I raise a surprise voice.
Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum is located across the sea from “Rio de Janeiro”, Brazil. The museum is famous for its UFO shape. This art museum has a strong impact on the building. When seeing the building at the first look, I screamed, “Oh!”. As I heard from rumors, despite the prior information, the impact when coming into view was strong.
I thought the designer of this building must have had some insistence on the UFO area, but the designer, “Oscar Ni-Meyer” said he has imaged a flower. “Oscar Ni-Meyer” designed the “United Nations Headquarters” in New York, buildings in “Brasilia”, the capital of Brazil, which is famous as a modern city.
This Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum is on a hill facing the sea. The disk-shaped building stands on a single pillar, with a curved passage leading to an aerial entrance. As walking up the passage toward the entrance, I was struck by the feeling to lose my location. I think it is possible to imagine and design the shape of this building, but I think it is amazing to build it.
The hall has a three-layer structure. The building is floating in the air. Considering the bottom is the first floor, there are up to the third floor. There is a space in the center of the second floor, and there are artworks. In addition, the outer circumference of the second floor surrounds with 360-degree glass, and you can enjoy the outside view.
On the sea side, you can see the city of “Rio de Janeiro” on the far opposite bank. On the 3rd floor, the outer circumference of the central space on the 2nd floor atrium is like a balcony, and there are artworks over there. Also, if going down the stairs on your right toward the pillars of the museum on the ground, there is a restaurant where you can relax while gazing at the sea view.
The exhibited artworks seem to be mainly contemporary art by local artists. There are unique Latin American’s colorful paintings, but do not expect much from the artwork itself. In case of this museum, the building of the museum is an artwork, so enjoying the building itself is the way.
There are museums of unusual shape in the world. Three museums that surprised me personally are the “Guggenheim Bilbao Museum” in Spain, the “Souyama Museum” in Mexico, and the “Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum”. The “Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum” is the most inaccessible of these three, but for contemporary art and architecture enthusiasts, it is a place to visit.
By the way, this museum is very inconvenient to access from “Rio de Janeiro”. It can be accessed by ferry and bus, but it is safe to go by taxi. “Rio de Janeiro” is not a safe place to compliment. Even if you have some experience in traveling to Asia, if you are new to South America, I recommend to take a taxi.
In case taking a taxi, cross the bridge that connects “Rio de Janeiro” and “Niteroi” over the sea. Seen from a distance, the 10km bridge looks like the “Seven Mile Bridge” between Miami and Key West in Florida, USA, which is also a pretty nice view.
Visited in 2019.
■ Name of Place：Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum
■ Address : Mirante da Boa Viagem, s/nº – Boa Viagem, Niterói – RJ, 24210-390
■ Homepage: http://culturaniteroi.com.br/macniteroi/
(described on Jan 31 2021)