While doing a bike tour in Rio de Janeiro, you always pass by interesting buildings you might want to visit later on. Many participants already asked us, while cycling, about the big beautiful building on Rua General Severiano, across the ticket booth of football club Botafogo. We’re talking here about Casa Daros, an imposing 12,000-square meter building which houses a museum dedicated to Latin America art.
It was only last year, in March 2013, that the 19th-century building opened its doors. It took almost six years of renovations before the public could enter the museum. The museum is part of the Daros Latinamerica, an art institute based in Zurich in Switzerland. It has one of the world's largest private collections of contemporary Latin American art. Casa Daros is one those places worth of a visit on days that cycling for example is not possible in Rio de Janeiro because of the rain.
The cultural center in Rio de Janeiro was bought in 2006 for 16 million real, while another 67 million real was invested in restoration. It has a beautiful outdoor area, with a patio, palm trees and places to sit. Local and international artists are regularly invited to show their art work in the different spaces of the building. Another interesting space is the gift shop, where you’ll find inventive and creative little things you can buy for presents.
Besides that Casa Daros has a great restaurant, Mira. The restaurant is run by chefs Roberta Ciasca, Danni Camilo and Steph Quinquis. They are the owners of Miam Miam and Oui Oui, also located in Botafogo, famous with locals for its variety of bars and restaurants, a neighborhood we visit during our Urban Bike tour.
The building was originally designed by Francisco Joaquim Bethencourt da Silva (1831–1912). It is said that he was a disciple of the French architect Grandjean de Montigny. In the past the building belonged to Santa Casa de Misericórdia, a charitable organization. It was used as an orphanage for poor girls in the 19th century.
For the institute Casa Daros education plays an important role. Casa Daros has a program called Art is Education and a library with more than 5.000 books. The museum offers activities for schools and students.
Unluckily the museum still doesn’t cater to the cyclist. Rio by Bike already visited Casa Daros by bicycle, but there was no place to leave the bikes. We were asked to park the bikes outside the property, even though there were no cycle racks. Maybe a next project for Casa Daros to invest in?