Lisbon | MAAT Museum by AL_A – Amanda Levete

Place: Lisbon, Country: Portugal
EDP Foundation
MAAT - Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, Lisbon
Architect: AL_A Amanda Levete Architects
Text by AL_A
Images courtesy of AL_A

MAAT- Lisbon-AL-A -Aerial-view

Lisbon | MAAT – Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology by AL_A

On October 5, 2016, EDP – Energia de Portugal, a Foundation aimed to explore and explain sustainable energy sources and the protection of the environment, opened the new MAAT – Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology in Lisbon.
Located on the Tejo riverside, the new museum is the centerpiece of the EDP campus and a space for disseminating contemporary culture. The MAAT building, designed by the British architectural office AL_A – Amanda Levete Architects, accommodates a permanent collection encompassing works of Portuguese artists, and organizes temporary exhibitions of contemporary art, new media, technology, and science, thus establishing a cultural hub of international significance.

MAAT- Lisbon-AL-A-River-view

MAAT, River view © AL_A. Above, aerial view, © AL_A






MAAT museum Lisbon by AL_A; site plan; ground floor, first floor, and roof plans; cross section


Photo © Francisco Nogueira

Project description by AL_A

The new Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT) is located on the Belém waterfront in Lisbon. The building, designed by the British architecture practice AL_A, will create exhibition spaces beneath a gracefully undulating roof, conceived to create a new public space above the galleries. The project will renew access to the Tagus River from the city and consolidate the wider publicly-funded urban regeneration of the quarter.
Incorporating over 7,000m² of new public space, MAAT will explore the convergence of architecture, technology and contemporary art as a field of cultural practice. It will accommodate a trans-disciplinary programme of exhibitions, public events and community engagement. As a new discursive space for the city, it will lead the conversation about the evolution of Lisbon and Portugal.




Photos by Hufton + Crow


MAAT museum Lisbon, architectural model

MAAT- Lisbon-AL-A-Elevation-sunset

MAAT, Elevation at sunset © AL_A

Amanda Levete, Principal of AL_A, 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.’

AL_A’s response exploits the natural assets of the site, framing an architectural narrative that is sensitive to both its cultural heritage and the future of the city.
The topographic form of the roof blends structure into landscape in a move that creates visual and physical permeability between inside and outside. A space to be appropriated by the public, it allows people to walk over, under and through the building as well as access the city via a new footbridge over the railway tracks.
The roof becomes an outdoor room, a physical and conceptual connection to the city’s heart, where you can turn away from the river and enjoy the vista of the cityscape, and at night, watch a film with Lisbon as your backdrop.

MAAT- Lisbon-AL-A-Cinema

MAAT, The roof as open-air cinema © AL_A

At high tide, a series of steps leading down from the museum to the water’s edge are submerged, creating a permeable threshold that changes with the tide. Restoring the historic connection between the city and the water, the building creates a destination for the people of Lisbon, as well as for cultural visitors and tourists, reactivating the neglected riverfront area for all.
The waterfront context is so essential to the project that the design has found a way to reflect this – literally – onto the floor of the gallery. An overhanging roof that creates welcome shade is used to bounce sunlight off the water and into the building, tracing the shifting patterns of the waves.
Inspired by Lisbon’s rich material heritage, calçada-tile pavements are subtly reinterpreted underfoot and used to merge the new public spaces with the existing texture of the city street.
Building on Portugal’s rich tradition of ceramics, 3D tiles articulate the façade and produce a complex surface that gives readings of water, light and shadow, capturing and magnifying the tonal light qualities of this site.


Photo by Bruno Lopes

MAAT- Lisbon-AL-A-Gallery-01

MAAT- Lisbon-AL-A-Gallery-02

MAAT, Galleries © AL_A

MAAT- Lisbon-AL-A-Site-01

MAAT- Lisbon-AL-A-Site-02

MAAT, images of the building under construction © AL_A


The museum opening, photo EDP

Unless differently specified, text and images are courtesy of AL_A
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