By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Ministry of Culture (MinC) announced yesterday, August 23rd, that construction on the new headquarters of the Museum of Image and Sound (MIS) of Rio de Janeiro on Avenida Atlântica in Copacabana will resume.
Construction began in 2010 and was expected to be complete by 2012, but suffered repeated delays and was suspended in September 2016. According to a report by Agencia Brasil, the new plan is for the building to be inaugurated next year.
“As soon as the construction restarts, the forecast is twelve months for physical works and six months for the implementation of the museum and its opening to the public,” says a statement released by the state.
In June 2014, the state government announced that about seventy percent of the building was already completed and was scheduled for delivery in December of the same year. However the work stopped and started and stopped again, and the beachfront of Copacabana remained blighted by the large construction site.
The contract with the construction company was rescinded and a new bidding process faced restrictions imposed by the “state of financial calamity”, declared by the state government in 2016 as a result of the economic crisis.
The situation was also complicated by the fact that the financing agreement signed with the IDB ended in August 2017 and the signature of an addendum to renew it depended on authorization from the Ministry of Planning’s External Financing Committee (Cofiex), which was not granted due to the state accounts.
Rio de Janeiro had already, at the time, adhered to the Tax Recovery Regime proposed by the federal government. The measure allowed states with cash problems to suspend payment of debt with the Union for three years, provided they met certain counterparts.
Just on Wednesday (August 22nd), there was finally Cofiex’s endorsement for the addendum to be signed, extending funding until June 2020 and thus unlocking R$20.8 million of the bank’s funding.
“Only after intense negotiations with the National Treasury Secretariat, the state of Rio and the IDB, with the implementation of the Tax Recovery Regime, was it possible to obtain a positive scenario for approval,” the Ministry of Planning said in a statement.
According to the Minister of Culture, Sérgio Sá Leitão, the agreement represents a victory for culture and for the state of Rio de Janeiro. “We are talking about an important institution for the audiovisual memory of a city so rich in terms of cultural and artistic expressions. The new MIS will be an emblem of Rio’s economic recovery,” said the minister.
Swedish expatriate living in Rio and operator of destination management service Rio Love Story, Tavi Norén, shared “That the Museum of Image and Sound finally opening soon is fundamental for the economy and reputation of Copacabana.”
“Copacabana beach is still the most famous beach in the world but the area is very weak in terms of what locals and visitors can do on rainy days or after the sun goes down. So the MIS can give us all a lot of value and specifically it could attract the younger generations.”
Linked to the State Department of Culture of Rio de Janeiro, MIS has a rich collection of more than 300,000 items, including photographs, films, audio discs and tapes, books and other related artifacts. The MIS museum originally opened in 1965 and has always been considered an important research center in the city.
According to the MinC, about R$70 million has already been allocated by the federal government through the Culture Incentive Law. In addition, resources are available through the Tourism Development Program (Prodetur), created by the Ministry of Tourism and financed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The new headquarters will have 9,800 square meters of area, divided into eight floors. There will be spaces for research, rooms for educational activities, a documentation center, a 280-seat theater auditorium, shop, cafeteria, panoramic restaurant, nightclub and a belvedere with open-air cinema.
Conceived as a vertical boulevard, the architectural project sought inspiration from the Rio landscape and the curves of the Copacabana sidewalk. The building was planned in a way that allows a new treatment to the immense collection, from a contemporary museographic language.
According to a government news agency, the notice for hiring a new contractor should now be submitted to the State Court of Audit (TCE-RJ). As announced by the Rio de Janeiro government, it is expected that bids will be evaluated by the court in approximately thirty days.