The first phase of Amanda Levete’s 7,400m² contemporary art complex by the river Tagus in Lisbon will open this week
The launch will coincide with the start of the Portuguese capital’s Architecture Triennale (6 October-12 December). Festival-goers will be invited into the building’s soon-to-complete Oval Gallery, which will host a 12-hour programme of events and performances.
The remaining three galleries – including the main gallery – plus a new restaurant and public spaces, are set to open in March next year.
The building in Belém, by Levete’s practice AL_A, can be ‘walked over, under and through’, and is the centrepiece of the emerging 38,000m² art campus MAAT, which includes the repurposed Central Tejo power station. The campus has been built by EDP Foundation, a cultural and social organisation set up by Portuguese energy firm EDP.
Amanda Levete ALA MATT copyright Hufton and Crow 7
The four exhibition spaces have a combined area of 2,855m², or just under 3,000m². The remaining area out of the 7,400m² total is taken up by other facilities including the reception, shop, restaurant, back of house, storage, and circulation areas.
Levete, whose practice won the project in 2011, said: ‘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.
‘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.’
The building is clad in 15,000 three-dimensional crackle-glazed tiles which ‘capture the changing light and give mutable readings of the exceptional southern light that vary with the time of day and the seasons’.
Amanda Levete ALA MATT copyright Hufton and Crow 3
Building type Cultural Centre
Principal Amanda Levete
Project Director Maximiliano Arrocet
Design team Fernando Ruiz Barberan, Mirta Bilos, Alex Bulygin, Grace Chan, Sara Ortiz Cortijo, Alice Dietsch, Ciriaco Castro Diez, Yoo Jin Kim, Ilina Kroushovski, Michael Levy, Cristina Revilla Madrigal, Stanislaw Mlynski, Ho-Yin Ng, Giulio Pellizzon, Raffael Petrovic, Chloe Piper, Filippo Previtali, Maria Alvarez-Santullano, Joe Shepherd, Paula Vega, Konstantinos Zaverdinoswith project team: Alex Bulygin, Paula Vega, Dave Flynn, YooJin Kim, Ciriaco Castro Diez, Jurgen Strohmayer, Arya Safavi
Local architect Aires Mateus e Associados