Opening in Lisbon this October: MAAT

Gail Taylor
Monday 01 Aug 2016

Designed by British architect, Amanda Levete of AL_A, the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology will be a highlight of Lisbon’s historic waterfront

On 5 October 2016, the EDP Foundation will officially open the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT) on the Tagus River in Belém, Lisbon. The initiative is at the heart of an exciting urban revitalisation along one of Lisbon’s  most historic waterfront neighbourhoods.

Amanda Levete’s new building captures the essence of the exceptional 38,000 sq m riverside site and its extraordinary light. Visitors can walk over, under and through the building, while the roof offers panoramic views towards the river and across Belém.

The site is of strategic importance, restoring the historic and powerful connections between the city and the water. By drawing visitors from the heart of Lisbon to the panoramic views along the Tagus estuary via a new footbridge over the railway tracks, MAAT will regenerate the riverfront area, making it one of the city’s leading cultural destinations.

The building features steps down into the river, which at high tide are covered with water, creating a constantly changing space filled with aquatic reflections that interplay with an overhanging façade covered in 3D tiles. A reference to Portugal’s rich tradition of ceramics, these give unexpected lighting effects that capture and magnify the site’s unique light qualities. While the cantilevered structure provides welcome shade, it also reflects sunlight off the water and into the building, evocatively tracing the shifting patterns of the tidal changes. 

The new MAAT building will open to the public with a 12-hour programme that features exhibition openings, educational events, performances and music happenings on the vast EDP Foundation Campus along the Tagus River.

Led by Director Pedro Gadanho, MAAT will explore contemporary culture through visual arts, new media, architecture, technology and science. With its unique heritage, a growing collection of Portuguese art and an innovative exhibition programme, MAAT will be a cultural space of discovery, critical thinking and international dialogue.

MAAT will be the focal point on the site of the EDP Foundation Campus. Housed within two buildings, the new kunsthall structure, designed by AL_A, and the newly renovated Tejo Power Station, MAAT will present a permanent science and electricity display, as well as a wide-ranging programme of temporary exhibitions.

Gail Taylor

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