Tuesday, 5 July 2022

The MAAT in Belem, Lisbon

The MAAT in Belem, Lisbon.

The Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology in Belem, consists of two buildings. The sumptuous, modern building on the river front was designed by British architect Amanda Levete. It's a fluid, curving structure covered in 15,000 tiles that seem to glow at sunset. The galleries (including the giant Oval Room for the show-stopping exhibits) are sunk below street level, which means you can easily walk up onto the cantilevered roof for wonderful views across the river.

The modern building is connected to the former Museum da Electricidade, a disused red-brick, early 20th century power station, that give eight galleries of exhibition space dedicated to contemporary designers, artists and architects.

We did not know about the aerial bridge that connects the town to the roof of the modern building, and consequently,  so we walked the long way along the river front

We soon reached the old power station

but, we did not enter the building

as we were impatient to see the modern wing of the museum, as we had read so much about it.

and there it was,

in all of its glory.

It's magnificent

We walked under the shade of its roof - it was a very hot day - 

Even the toilets are ultra modern and minimalist

Posters for sale in the shop.

We looked at the exhibitions that were on

and then it was time to visit the roof, through that passage

and we were on the cantilevered roof.

It was then we noticed the bridge that connects the building to the town - had we known of its existence, we would have saved ourselves lots of time getting there.

Fantastic views from here - Christo Rei in the distance, on the left

the 25 de Abril bridge

abandoned scooters are to be found everywhere in the city - even on the roof of this museum

It was time to leave the roof

and visit the second building, 

the old power station. Up those stairs we went,

and this is what we saw once we entered

abandoned, disused machinery everywhere

and in the mist of it all, the exhibits - paintings


We looked at the exhibition and then I tried to explore as much of the building as I could, venturing into areas that had been the heart of the power station

but soon I got a violent asthma attack

and had to leave. Amazing, given that the building has not been a power station for over 50 years.

Having seen as much as we could, we left the museum and started walking towards Padrao dos Descobrimentos the Monument to the Discoveries.

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