The Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT) of Lisbon is located at Rua Brasília, a street named after the famous Brazilian capital—known for its modernist flair and wide open spaces. The project was lead by RIBA Stirling Prize-winning architect Amanda Levete. Her practice AL_A is the responsible party for this ambitious endeavour. Said to be a unique creature in the world of museums, since it brings to the forefront a novel mixture of different but complementary areas.
The project encompasses approximately 3,000m2 of exhibitive space plus 7,000m2 of public space, making for a sui generis cultural centre on the riverfront. Its massive scale becomes an undeniable presence facing the Tagus River, a perfect location to direct attention to the numerous exhibitions, symposiums and screenings; as the city dynamics pulls visitors to the region. For instance, even the roof welcomes passerby’s for a promenade or its select screenings. A clear example of excellent use of urban space offering different experiences for its citizens, especially from a social standpoint, a museum as a place to fully experience and not only to visit.
Spanish photographer and creative director Joel Filipe suggests a unique perspective for the MAAT—an exploration of the textures and the geometric design of the centre. As the attention shifts towards an abstract view of the building, highlighting the playful mix of heights and the seamless form between ground level and the aforementioned roof top for activities. The minimalist sensibility brings forth the engaging side of visual patterns not as excess, but as necessary counterpoint to the grand scale of it all. This isn’t minimalism as simplicity but as a possible direction for sculptural art as architecture.