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These UFO-Like Buildings Are a Space-Age Tourist’s Dream

The future is now—follow this tour of UFO architecture found all around the world

Since this art museum in Brazil was completed in 1996, it has put the relatively unknown city of Niterói on the map. (SERGIO MORAES/Reuters/Corbis)
smithsonianmag.com

Remember the future of yesteryear? It was supposed to include flying cars, humanoid robots and architecture that looked like it came out of a sci-fi illustrator's sketchbook. Society hasn't done very well on the car or robot servant front, but it turns out there are plenty of UFO-inspired buildings that keep the future (as imagined by the past) alive. In honor of the flying saucer-like craft that landed atop a newly constructed building in China's Shandong province, come along on a tour of some of the world's coolest UFO-like buildings.

Niterói Contemporary Art Museum (Niterói, Brazil)

Next stop: Brazil. Just across Rio de Janeiro's Guanabara Bay is the city of Niterói—where an art museum that used to be an alien craft is housed in a spectacular bayside structure designed by Oscar Niemeyer. Though the museum is currently closed for construction, since it was first completed in 1996, it has made the once relatively unknown city a tourist destination in its own right, with its contemporary art exhibits, in-house restaurant and weekend music performances.

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