MAAT – the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, is the new cultural centre in Lisbon. Designed by the British firm Amanda Levete Architects, MAAT represents an ambition to host national and international exhibitions with contributions by contemporary artists, architects and thinkers.
MAAT also represents the EDP’s (Fundação Engergias de Portugal) intent to help revitalise the riverfront of the historic Belém district. The project involves approximately 3,000,000 sq. metres of exhibition space, plus 7,000,000 sq. metres of public space.
The iconic new building rises on the riverfront with an architectural narrative that is sensitive to the city’s cultural heritage and future offering, among other features, a pedestrian roof that offers fantastic views of Lisbon and the Tagus.
MAAT is a key element in a 38,000,000 sq. metre campus that encompasses the Tejo Power Station, and is interconnected through a landscape project designed by Lebanese architect Vladimir Djurovic.
Winner of the Design Prize 2017 and shortlisted for the EU Mies van der Rohe Prize 2017
MAAT is a powerful, yet sensitive, low-slung building that explores the convergence of contemporary art, architecture and technology. It was launched in October 2016 with a site-specific installation by French artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foester. Led by Director Pedro Gadanho, MAAT’s aim is to explore contemporary culture through visual arts, new media, architecture, technology and science. MAAT has already hosted important exhibitions including The World of Charles and Ray Eames and The Form of Form.
Designed to allow visitors to walk over and under, as well as through, the building, MAAT contains four distinct gallery spaces that sit beneath a gracefully undulating roof, which has been conceived to create significant new public spaces on the roof and along the waterfront. The building’s textured façade comprises 15,000 three-dimensional crackle-glazed tiles manufactured by Ceràmica Cumella. Building on Lisbon’s rich tradition of craft, the complex surface is a contemporary expression of this characteristic Portuguese building material and continues AL_A’s ongoing research into new uses and reinterpretations of ceramics. The eye-catching ceramic façade was manufactured by Ceràmica Cumella and installed by Spanish ceramic façade experts Disset.
The tiles capture the exceptional southern light of this specific geographical location that varies according to the time of day and the seasons. Amanda Levete commented: “In understanding EDP’s ambition for Lisbon, our design draws on the context of the site, creating both physical and conceptual connections to the waterfront and back to the heart of the city.”
“The waterfront is so essential to the project that the design literally reflects it. The overhanging roof that creates welcome shade is used to bounce sunlight off the water and into the Main Gallery, one of the four interconnected exhibition spaces.”
The second phase of the MAAT project opened this March including a restaurant and additional public spaces. The park will become even more accessible to Belém with the opening of an elegant pedestrian bridge that will span to MAAT’s roof, also designed by AL_A.
Photographic credits: Hufton + Crow, Fernando Guerra, AL_A
A new post by Joe Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, August 2017.