Yesterday, a story about a project to build a massive artificial waterfall in Rio made its rounds on the blogs (I found it via The Good Blood, via Treehugger). Swiss architecture firm RAFAA entered the project in the International Architecture Competition for the 2016 Olympics by proposing the construction of a solar panel operated artificial waterfall on one of the small islands off the coast of the city, right off the tip of the Leme neighborhood.
The structure, called the Solar City Tower, runs on solar power, pumping ocean water into the cascade over the island. Besides providing clean energy, the building would have observation decks, shops, dining, an amphitheater, and a bungee-jumping deck. The idea seems to be to make it both an environmental landmark as well as a tourist attraction.
I looked around to see if I could find any other entries for the competition, but this was all I could find. While I think it's a wonderful idea to strive to be the first zero-carbon games (good luck with that, by the way), it seems a little wacky. And despite the intent on creating something semi natural, Rio's beauty lies in its real natural wonders, and this thing just looks weird.
A better idea might be to get working on the World Cup venues, which are due sooner and are apparently behind schedule. There's no reason solar energy can't come into play there, too, even if it's not as flashy.