Project DescriptionFROM THE ARCHITECTS:
MAAT is an outward-looking museum located on the banks of the Tagus in Belém, the district from where the Portuguese great explorers set off. Proposing a new relationship with the river and the wider world, the kunsthalle is a powerful yet sensitive and low-slung building that explores the convergence of contemporary art, architecture and technology.
The new building is the centrepiece of EDP Foundation’s masterplan for an art campus that includes the repurposed Central Tejo power station.
Blending structure into landscape, the kunsthalle is designed to allow visitors to walk over, under and through the building that sits beneath a gently expressed arch – one of the oldest forms in western architecture.
The roof becomes an outdoor room, a physical and conceptual reconnection of the river to the city’s heart – where visitors can turn away from the river and enjoy the vista of the cityscape, and at night, watch a film with Lisbon as a backdrop.
Below, the exhibition spaces are extensions of the public realm, with flowing interconnected places for experiences and interactions at the intersection of the three disciplines. These spaces complement the galleries of the converted Central Tejo building.
Building on Portugal’s rich tradition of craft and ceramics, three-dimensional crackle glazed tiles articulate the façade and produce a complex surface that gives mutable readings of water, light and shadow. The overhanging roof that creates welcome shade is used to bounce sunlight off the water and into the building.
FROM THE MAAT:
October 3, 2016—This Wednesday, 5 October 2016, the EDP Foundation will officially open MAAT - Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology - on the Tagus River in Belém, Lisbon, with a 12-hour public programme featuring exhibition openings, educational events, performances and music happenings.
Housed within two buildings and spanning a vast outdoor site, MAAT will explore contemporary culture through visual arts, new media, architecture, technology and science. It will comprise the elegant new kunsthalle designed by AL_A, the architecture practice headed by British architect Amanda Levete, and the recently renovated Central Tejo power station. The new museum complex is located on the EDP Foundation Campus, which is at the heart of an exciting urban revitalisation along one of Lisbon’s mosthistoric waterfronts.
Speaking about the EDP Foundation’s commission, António Mexia, CEO of EDP Group and Chairman of EDP Foundation, said: “MAAT will restore the historic connection between the city and the water. It will be a hub for attracting people who come here to enjoy art and architecture. More than that, however, it will draw people from the heart of the city to the panoramic views along the Tagus estuary, a riverfront area that has long been neglected, but thanks to MAAT, will become a vibrant new destination within Lisbon.”
Pedro Gadanho, Director of MAAT, added: “With its unique industrial heritage, a growing collection of Portuguese art and an innovative exhibition programme, MAAT will be a cultural space of discovery, critical thinking and global dialogue. MAAT will not only support the work of Portuguese artists and curators, but will also offer them a platform to connect with the international art community.”
The new kunsthalle
AL_A’s new kunstshalle, which contains four distinct gallery spaces, captures the essence of the exceptional 38,000 m2 riverside site and its extraordinary light. Blending structure into landscape, and conceived to create significant new public spaces, it is designed to allow visitors to walk over and under, as well as through the building, while the undulating roof offers panoramic views towards the river and across Belém. The building creates a constantly changing place filled with aquatic reflections that interplay with the overhanging façade covered in 15,000 three-dimensional tiles, a reference to Portugal’s rich tradition of ceramics.
The new kunsthalle will launch in two phases. Following its inauguration this month, the second phase is set to launch in March 2017 with the opening of an elegant pedestrian bridge, also designed by AL_A, that lands on the kunsthalle roof, making the campus and waterfront more accessible to the city. The completion of the architectural project will also include the opening of a restaurant, as well as a park designed by Vladimir Djurovic Landscape Architecture.
“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," Amanda Levete, Principal of AL_A, said. "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.”