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Niterói Contemporary Art Museum

Oscar Niemeyer

Shared By

August King


  • Structural Engineer: Bruno Contarini

Project Status


Year Completed




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Project Description


Those who visit the Niterói Contemporary Art Museum admire a work where technique gives significant support to art. Five years were needed to build the four - story structure with 300 workers taking turns in three shifts. 5,500 tons of material were excavated from which workers used 3,200,000 cubic meters of concrete, enough to raise a building of 10 floors.

With 16 meters high, the MAC rises from the ground in a single cylindrical base 9 meters in diameter that supports the entire building. A reflecting pool with 817 m² surface and 60 cm deep, gives lightness to the building.

The circular shape covers 50 meters in diameter and area of nearly two thousand square meters, and received heat treatment and waterproofing. The large outdoor ramp red concrete leads the visitor through 98 meters of free curves in space, to the inputs of the upper floors. The first floor entrance is the reception and administration. Just above the second floor houses the central exhibition hall surrounded by a glass circular balcony, also aimed at exhibitions, totaling an area of thousand square meters, where you can admire the panoramic views of Guanabara Bay.

The glasses of MAC were manufactured exclusively for the project. Triplex are 70 blades, 18 mm thick, in bronze color. Each strip measuring 4.80 m high by 1.85 m wide.The frames are 40 steel profiles and are inclined relative to the horizontal plane. Super-resistant glass supports weight equivalent to 20 people. The top floor is also designed for exhibitions. The floors were covered with 3,000 m² of blue carpet.

Going down to the basement, visitors can find an auditorium for 60 spectators and the area planned for the restaurant, where a thin torn window horizontally along the facade provides a glimpse of the beauty of Guanabara Bay. Plus there is the power center with 800 KVA, water pumps, two water reservoirs with 6,000 m³ each.

The entire museum was set according to Anna Maria Niemeyer furniture design. The structural design was in charge of Bruno Contarini engineer who worked with Oscar Niemeyer in many other works, including the revolutionary structure of the University of Constantine, Algeria.

The structure of the MAC is complex due to the type of work, loose in the air, with a single central support and circular shape. It was designed to support a weight equivalent to 400 kg / m² and wind speeds of up to 200km / h.

The projects of environmental lighting and monumental lighting are by Peter Gasper. In the central exhibition hall, the light from the technical light system is utilized for ambient lighting. The reflections on the walls and the light from the skylight involve the entire environment.

The same occurs on the top floor. From inside the molding, formed the floor of the meeting with the ceiling, insinuates itself an indirect light, which gently fills the room.

Externally, the monument is illuminated by 34 lights of aircraft, installed under the water surface in the museum base . The lighting creates space intonation and emphasizes the lightness of the main structure. Tangential light extends over the top and goes to heaven.

To ensure the safety of visitors day and night, the ramp that leads to the interior of the museum has its outline delineated by a ray of light balizadora.

This description has been lightly edited for clarity.
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