Friday, October 21, 2011

Museum of Image and Sound in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Museum of Image and Sound, Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, 2011 *

The museum is scheduled to be complete this year, and it is definitely a Modern design, though I’m not sure it is Metamodern. Diller Scofidio + Renfro is a much acclaimed 46 person interdisciplinary architectural design firm, noted for its design theory. The firm’s philosophy claims that all designs are so site specific as to be based metaphorically in the DNA of the location. and the designs do seem extremely suited to their location. The Museum of Image and Sound (hereafter MIS) folds itself into a crowded section of Rio’s Copacabana beachfront between two fourteen-story high-rise buildings. In fact the museum looks like a rectangular metal box that has emerged somewhat crushed from a 1970’s trash compactor. Yes, I know, that is a rather scathing comment. I could have said instead that it appears to have been warped through a 4th dimension. However, I find that I have a slightly uncomfortable reaction to many of the firm's architectural programs, which almost always are jammed into crowded metropolitan sites. According to the firm, the design of the building is meant to be a vertical extension of Roberto Burl Marx’s beach promenade stretched and folded through various venues and open-air spaces to the building’s rooftop theater. The concept is marvelous, and I do appreciate the interior and exterior views of the spaces despite the criticism above. Perhaps if I visited the actual site of the MIS I would have more enthusiasm for the building. After all, Diller Sofidio + Renfro won a competition to design this space. I am struggling here because I often find it a stretch to appreciate the wisdom of competition judges and committees.

In conclusion, I don’t find that the MIS design meets the criteria for a Metamodern approach. It does not achieve the fantastical and surreal aspect that seems to be part of so many Metamodern architectural works, nor does it possess an organic quality, despite the metaphorical DNA theory of the firm. Neither do I find the presence of oscillation between and among oppositions claimed by theorists Vermeulen and Van den Akker for the Metamodern. Finally I do not claim that this is a bad design, only that it is a bit awkward, and that it is not Metamodern.


Much of the notation of this article is achieved through the linked items above.

Dezeen Blog Archive, “Museum of Image and Sound by Diller Scofidio + Renfro,” August 14, 2009, viewed 10:26 AM EDT, October 15, 2011.

*EVolo, "Museum of Image and Sound in Rio de Janeiro / Diller Scofidio + Renfro," August 10, 2010, viewed 10:26 AM, EDT, October 21, 2011. It is known that one time use of images for intellectual purpose is legal under US copyright law.

Arcspace, Viewed 10:30 AM EDT, October 15, 2011.

1 comment:

Betsy Grant said...

I find the name of the building interesting, and wonder what the sound aspect is all about? It is said that everything in our physical world finds expression in some form of the pure Light and Sound of God.