The MAAT will be the central figure of the 38.000 square meters Campus that the EDP Foundation occupies on the banks of the Tejo River. Here, the iconic power station dating back to the early 1900s, and the new kunsthall designed by London architecture firm Amanda Levete Architects, coexist and offer a diverse cultural programme. The Tejo Power Station has been modernised, maintained its dedication to science and provided four galleries for the MAAT programming. The new MAAT building includes four exhibitive spaces in a total of approximately 3000 square meters: Oval Room, Main Gallery, Video Room and Project Room.
The two buildings are united by an outdoor park, conceived by landscape architect Vladimir Djurovik, offering an outstanding leisure space along Lisbon’s riverbank. This Campus will be completed in May 2017.
The Tejo Power Station was a thermoelectric power plant owned by Companhias Reunidas de Gás e Eletricidade (CRGE, United Gas and Electric Companies), which supplied the entire Lisbon region with electric power. Built in 1908, it operated nonstop from 1909 to 1954, maintaining some production activity until the 1970s.
At its height, the Tejo Power Station had fifteen small boilers and five generating sets that supplied the city of Lisbon’s power grid. The building’s architectural style was typical of small power plants at the end of the 19th century, then called «electricity factories».
A unique example of industrial archaeology from the first half of the 20th century, the current building is the result of successive expansions carried out due to the need to provide the plant with greater production capacity. The building, classified as an Asset of Public Interest in 1986, comprises an impressive iron structure covered in brick, and the façades display several artistic styles, from art nouveau to classicism.
Entering a new phase of its existence, the Tejo Power Station opened to the public for the first time in 1990 as an Electricity Museum. After another period in which it was closed for restoration work on the buildings and equipment, it finally opened in 2006.
The museum’s permanent exhibition, called the Power Station Circuit, presents original machinery in a perfect state of conservation, which tells the story of this old plant, as well as of the evolution of electricity up to renewable energy. A space for science, but with an industrial base, this is one of the most visited museums in the country, especially by schools.
In 2016, the Tejo Power Station also became one of the sites for MAAT – Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, thereby reinforcing its vocation as a space to present contemporary art.
The building for the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology was designed by British architecture studio Amanda Levete Architects (AL_A).
Boasting over seven thousand square metres of new public space, AL_A’s building makes use of the area’s natural features, incorporating an architectural narrative that is in keeping with both the cultural heritage and future of the city.
The pedestrian route on the riverfront now includes the roof of the new building, creating an undulating movement which merges with the surrounding landscape. In this way, the pedestrian roof, which also has a garden area, becomes both a crucial element of the local route, and a public space with a privileged view of the city and the river.
The vast south facade is the building’s most iconic feature and it works as a large reflector interacting with the light coming from the river. The angle and position of the tiles were planned in order to create specific luminous effects according to the time of the day and year. The north facade, built in glass, includes a system with different levels of transparency which can be adapted to the different uses of the space.
Inside, the building holds four exhibition spaces across three thousand square metres: the Oval Gallery, the Main Gallery, the Video Room and the Project Room.
The Oval Gallery is the first exhibition area which the public comes across. It consists of 800 square metres of both exhibition space and walk-around area which takes visitors to the other exhibition rooms in the building. This vast walking route is shaped along a curve which allows the visitor to walk around the inside of the building and through the special projects being hosted in that area.
The Main Gallery is around one thousand square metres and is located on the bottom floor of the building. It’s a versatile space which, depending on the programme, might be kept as a single space or divided into multiple rooms.
The Project and Video Rooms are two spaces used to present film or video projects, installations, etc.
We understood EDP’s vision for Lisbon, and our project is based around the local context, creating physical and conceptual connections with the riverfront which are echoed in the heart of the city. – Amanda Levete
AL_A is an award-winning architecture and design studio, founded in 2009 by Amanda Levete, an architect who was awarded the RIBA Stirling Prize, and by Ho Yin Ng, Alice Dietsch and Maximiliano Arrocet.
Located on the Tejo riverbank in Belém, one of Lisbon’s most dynamic cultural areas, Central Tejo is an absolutely unique space to host institutional events.
Characterised by its size and formality, the Turbine Hall is the Tejo Power Station’s most iconic space. It is a large room, measuring 270 square meters with a 9-metre ceiling height, offering a fabulous view of the river. This room has a capacity for up to 200 people in theatre style.
Set against the Tejo Power Station’s industrial backdrop, the Condenser Room is perfect for hosting smaller events, seating approximately 60 people.
Located at the centre of the Tejo Power Station, this room was specifically created for more reserved meetings, accommodating a maximum of 50 people seated.
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