This is the image circulating on the Internet of Rio de Janeiro’s Solar City Tower, a symbol of welcome to newcomers arriving in Rio either by sea or by air as the host city of 2016 Olympic Games. How amazing is that?

Designed by RAFA firm headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, it is called “Solar City Tower,” and has the potential to generate enough energy not only for the Olympic city, but also for part of the city of Rio.

Its design makes it store solar energy during the day, while the surplus energy produced is piped to pump sea water within the tower, giving the effect of a waterfall outside. This water is reused simultaneously by turbines which are designed to produce energy during the night

These characteristics give it the epithet tower generator which is intended as a continuation of some of the resolutions taken during the Earth Summit United Nations in 1992 that took place in Rio and also promotes the use of natural resources in energy among these people.

The tower also has an amphitheater, an auditorium, cafeteria, and shops accessible on the ground floor, where you can take an elevator that leads to various observatories and a retractable platform for the practice of bungee.

At the top of the tower, it will be possible to appreciate the scenery around the island where it will be erected and its waterfall will become a benchmark for 2016 and the city of Rio de Janeiro. (Notice the bungee jumper to the right of the tower. How mind-blowing would THAT be?)

HOWEVER: These pictures are just conceptual images; what they depict hasn’t yet been built, may never be built, and hasn’t yet been demonstrated to be technically feasible. They come from the web site of RAFAA, a Zurich-based architecture and design studio, which submitted them in 2009 as its proposal for a design competition.

I am amazed by the design, and think the philosophy behind it astounding. However, Rio already has so much to offer visitors with its beaches, rainforest, and physical attributes that I’m not sure it’s necessary to add to its natural beauty. I’m also not convinced that any more money should be spent on such excess when there exists a dire need for schools, housing, and medical care facilities.

Still, it’s a lovely dream project.