By Andrew Willis, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Both neighborhood locals and the staff of the Museum of Image and Sound (MIS) are keenly awaiting the cultural institution’s move to Copacabana, but construction setbacks and rising project costs have delayed the relocation.
The MIS, which is home to numerous important national radio, video and photograph archives, was originally scheduled to move into a new purpose-built location facing Copacabana Beach in 2012, although delays started being announced last year.
“Its inauguration is planned for the second semester of 2013,” said José Emilio Rondeau, an adviser at Rio de Janeiro’s culture department. According to Rondeau, the new structure is now budgeted to cost R$88 million – an R$18 million increase from the original projections.
The MIS is currently spread between two buildings in Lapa and Praça XV in Centro, and is predominantly used by researchers, whereas the future location is expected to be a major tourist attraction, thanks to new public displays and exhibits.
Estimates vary as to how many visitors the new museum is likely to attract, but some small business owners in the area are anticipating an uptick in business. “It will be yet another good reason to visit Copacabana,” said Pedro, a coconut seller in the area.
Staff at the MIS are also keen to make the move across town. “Researchers currently have to move between two buildings, separated by a 25 minute walk,” said Mariana Costa, communications officer at the MIS. “We are really looking forward to the move to Copacabana. The new building is going to be very modern, very different from what you see now.”
A glass-fronted explanatory office in front of the future Copacabana site offers a glimpse of what the future museum will look like.
Inside the office, TV screens depict the future layout of the permanent and temporary showrooms, a theater with 300 seats, a shop, a cafeteria, and a panoramic restaurant on the terrace.
On the exterior, part of the building’s design will mimic the wave patterns of Copacabana’s beachfront sidewalk.
The first two floors will be dedicated to Rio de Janeiro’s various festivals, such as Carnival, in exhibits that will illustrate the history of the musical genres of samba, choro, and bossa nova and their performers.
Higher up, another floor will focus on the Carioca way of life and the production of novelas (soap operas) and film, while the uppermost floors will celebrate both the serene natural havens and the hectic nightlife of the city.
Many in Rio may remember the building site had hosted the infamous Help Discotech nightclub for decades, a controversial magnet for prostitution in the neighborhood which was closed in early 2010. The move was one of many changes in Copacabana, as the city looks forward to the 2016 Olympic Games.