The building housing the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (maat) was designed by British architecture studio AL_A (Amanda Levete Architects) and opened to the public in 2016. It is the latest addition to the EDP Foundation campus, which also includes the repurposed Central Tejo power station built in 1908.
In the architects’ own words, “proposing a new relationship with the river and the wider world, the Museum is a powerful yet sensitive and low-slung building that explores the convergence of contemporary art, architecture and technology.”
The maat building was designed to blend structure and landscape and to allow people to walk over, under and through it, or along the riverside. Its roof, conceived as a public space, gives access to the city through a footbridge overpassing the railway, and offers unforgettable views of both Lisbon and the River Tagus.
Composed of almost 15,000 three-dimensional tiles, maat’s south façade captures the natural light, creating patterned reflections that change seasonally and according to the time of the day.
The interior was conceived as an extension of the public realm. With 3,000 square metres of exhibition area, the spaces are designed to articulate organically, allowing uninterrupted circulation through differently scaled volumes and reconfigurable functions. The waterfront is so essential to the project that the design found a way to reflect it inside: the overhanging roof that provides a welcome shade draws the sunlight bouncing off the water through skylights and into the building.
AL_A architecture studio was founded in 2009 by the RIBA Stirling Prize-winning architect Amanda Levete with Ho-Yin Ng, Alice Dietsch and Maximiliano Arrocet.