Out 11, 2016

Amanda Levete's MAAT museum opens in Lisbon

The British architect Amanda Levete fell in love with Lisbon over a decade ago. "I took my son out of school for two days to see England lose to Portugal in Euro 2004," she recalls.


Now, Levete has her own building there: a sparkling ceramic swooping crest on the banks of the Tagus River that opened to the public this weekend. Inside, there will be art and design, a lot of video and moving image and of course, the now obligatory emphasis on education. This is the addition to the MAAT, or Museum of Architecture, Art and Technology, and it offers around 7000 square metres of new exhibition space.

In some ways, though, its outside is rather more important. In a bid not to block out river views, and also to create new open space to attract the local populace in a city where a great deal of life is lived outdoors, Levete has dug down, rather than built up, and the main result is that the gleaming white stone roof now functions as a public park. It's unlikely that its fairly steep incline would get past the planners in London, but thankfully Lisbon takes a more relaxed attitude, and from this vantage point visitors can now gaze out over the wide river, which famously turns to gold in the setting sun, as well as back to the turn-of-the-century pink Presidential Palace in Belem.

The MAAT museum in Lisbon by AL_A Credit: Hufton + Crow

The Telegraph
by Caroline Roux