Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT)
MAAT, the new Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology is a low-slung, south facing building on the banks of the River Tagus in Lisbon, Portugal. The building is the centrepiece of the EDP Foundation masterplan for an art campus that includes the repurposed Central Tejo power station.
MAAT complements the historic Central Tejo and preserves views of the waterfront both to and from the historic district of Belém. Blending structure into landscape, the kunsthalle is designed to allow people to walk over, under and through the building.
MAAT is an urban project as much as a cultural one. Over 7,000m² of new public space has been created, with the moleanos limestone roof becoming an outdoor room, a physical and conceptual reconnection of the river to the city’s heart. The building helps to reconcile a riverfront cut off from the city by making a literal connection with a new footbridge over road and rail as well as a metaphorical link.
Building on Lisbon’s rich tradition of craft and ceramics, the building’s textured façade is composed of almost 15,000 three-dimensional crackle-glazed tiles, capturing the ever-changing southern light.
Inside, people are guided down a sweeping ramp with an exquisitely curved lioz stone handrail that circles around the Oval Gallery, a 1,200m2 column free exhibition space. Surrounding this is the large daylit Main Gallery and two smaller spaces for installations and projections.
Construction took place over 2.5 years on reclaimed land, entailing a significant excavation and engineering challenge to realise a building that is partially below the water table.
This privately funded museum welcomed 550,000 visitors in its inaugural year. Completed on a €20m budget, the museum has been a catalyst for the rehabilitation of the Tagus riverfront and helped to put Lisbon on the map as an art and culture destination.