By Jaylan Boyle, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – The fate of Copacabana’s infamous Help club has been finalized. After the bulldozers have moved in, work is to begin on the monumental new incarnation of the Museo da Imagem e do Som (Museum of Image and Sound), which currently resides in Centro.
Governor of Rio de Janeiro state Sergio Cabral has been one of the leading voices calling for the compulsory acquisition of the land on which the club now stands. Help has long had its opponents, who object to the fact that it is a central point at which prostitutes gather to find clients. The club has been in existence since 1985.
The Guardian newspaper of London published an article recently on the downfall of Help, and quoted governor Cabral as saying that the development was a step towards improving living conditions in the city, in alignment with other such projects as pioneering policing initiatives in some of Rio’s favelas.
Interestingly, the article suggested that the project to rid Copacabana of Help was also motivated by the desire to ‘clean up the city before Brazil hosts the 2014 (soccer) World Cup’, a viewpoint that is perhaps not shared across the Brazilian media: O Globo called the remark an ‘interpretation’.
The cost of the ambitious development is reportedly in the region of R$65 Million, with the club to officially close its doors on August 28 before construction takes over. After a recent competition that drew interest from as far afield as Japan, the design of American architectural firm Diller Scofidio and Renfro emerged as the winning entry.
According to State Secretary for Culture, Adriana Rattes, construction of the new colossus is projected to take two and a half years. The completed Museum of Image and Sound will comprise 6,000 square meters, and will include, among other features, cafes, exhibition areas, a piano bar and parking lot.
There are plans to have the new museum play a significant role in Carnival and New Year’s celebrations, as well as hosting regular music festivals.
The MIS in its current form is located in Praca XV, Centro, and holds more than 10,000 items on display. Opened in September 1965, its stated aim was to preserve the audiovisual history of the nation for future generations, a goal that will continue with the new museum. The entire collection is due to be transferred to the new site in 2012. The Praca XV building could be used to host exhibits on the history of the museum itself.