The Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, Lisbon

The MAAT in Lisbon

The banks of the Rio Tejo in the capital city of Portugal have witnessed the spectacular combination of a historical building with a futuristic new build. The Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology is a visitor magnet and an eye-catcher. For the first time Lisbon has plenty of space for contemporary art.

Central Tejo, the former power station that was converted years ago into an electricity museum, has received assistance in the form of a futuristic building conceived by Amanda Levete Architects of the United Kingdom. The shiny white roof made of natural stone is set out as a public park and has become very popular among Lisbon’s residents as well as tourists - not only in its function as a viewing platform.

This new building, a 24.8 million Euro project situated in the historical part of the cultural district of Belem, has already inspired various interpretations: a shark’s mouth, a rising snake, a stylised eye.

The façade of the MAAT is clad in 15,000 ceramic tiles, some of them three-dimensional. The ever-changing light in Lisbon makes it sparkle during the daytime, while at night BEGA in-ground luminaires create dramatic lighting effects. At the beginning of the planning phase, the architect Amanda Levete expressed her wish to create a structure that would reflect, magnify and transform this famous Lisbon light when viewed walking along the river bank.

Drive-over BEGA in-ground luminaires with skid-blocking glass in various sizes accentuate the architectural beauty of the MAAT in the dark. These luminaires also meet the special requirement of illuminating the spectacular façade uniformly in that the reflectors can be adjusted to an angle of 0 to 30 degrees during the set-up phase. Just like the luminaires with asymmetrical light distribution, they accentuate the special features of the MAAT façade.

Using diffuser disks for wide beam light distribution, an even greater uniformity is achieved on the illuminated surface because of the softened edge of the light cone.

Client Fundacao Energias de Portugal (EDP)

Architect Amanda Levete Architects London

Photos Francisco Nogueira, Lisbon