Isabel Barros Architects - Blog

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Tag: Architecture (page 1 of 3)

The 15,000 Tile Building



Covering external walls with ceramic tiles is a Portuguese tradition with at least 500 years. The new MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology) in Lisbon took this tradition one step further and used 15,000 3D wall tiles to cover its walls.



Traditional Portuguese tiles ('azulejos')

Traditional Portuguese tiles


The MAAT tiles were manufactured in Barcelona by the same company that worked with Antoni Gaudí, and it’s still working in ‘La Sagrada Família’.

Wall tiles, MAAT Lisbon

Wall tiles, MAAT Lisbon


The 60cm high tiles are hollow to reduce the weight. The architect says they will (intentionally) start cracking very soon.


Some interesting facts about MAAT:

  • 15,000 hexagonal wall tiles cover the building.
  • The tiles are mechanically fixed.
  • Designed by Amanda Levete Architects by direct invitation.
  • The Museum Director is an Architect – Pedro Gadanho (former MoMA curator).
  • 420 m2 of minimal frame windows – PanoramAH system.
  • The central gallery has an oval shape and it is below the river level.
  • Construction cost: €20 million.
  • Construction cost per m²: €2,702. (Gross internal floor area 7,400m²).
  • It is possible to walk over the roof.
  • Owned by the Portuguese electricity and gas provider EDP.

15,000 wall tiles cover the MAAT’s walls


It is possible to walk over the MAAT’s roof.



Visit MAAT’s website here.

Extension to House Over 100 years Old in New Ross, Wexford

Note: This post was previously titled ‘Extension to 1950’s House in New Ross, Wexford – SketchUp Animation’. During works we discovered the walls were not what we expected and some investigation confirmed the original house was built between 1888-1913! (The owners were not aware of this.)

We feel that our proposal is like the missing piece to complete this house puzzle.



The original house used to be a Council house and it was built in the 1950s. The owners had already built different extensions to the house but they left a big problem unsolved: the entrance and the circulation and flow of space within the house.

They approached us to get a bigger kitchen more suitable to their lifestyle. We listened and we were sensitive to all energies we could capture. We proposed a holistic approach that embraced the existing house, respecting it and making the all space a much better place to live in.

We like to think the new entrance works like the “spinal column” of the house, supporting it, organizing it and allowing the spaces to flow naturally from there.

From the entrance a new wall – the “shoulders” – is built to hold the two new extensions – the “arms” – that will hug and embrace the existing house respecting it in a complacent manner.



We felt the existing black and white palette needed a different material/texture to make it more interesting and with a warmer feeling. We propose to cover the two “arms” with timber cladding. This is a type of cladding found elsewhere on this site and it has the beauty of being a natural and environmentally friendly material that easily blends with the landscape.

Working with an existing house with a number of (more recent) extensions is always a challenge. We are often restricted by a number of factors and it requires years of experience to turn them around in our favour. We are delighted with the result and we cannot wait to see it built.

See what our clients had to say:

14.75_R Collins Comment 1 14.75_R Collins Comment 2


See more animations here.


Do you have a similar project? Talk to us today!


As featured in the


House Extension in Wexford – Drinagh – SketchUp Animation


This extension was mostly inspired by the existing roof and all the triangular shapes it creates.



The existing house is a 2 storey detached house built in Wexford, Ireland in 2005.

The proposal aims to provide a bigger dining space and a living room that is connected to the kitchen while taking advantage of the solar path and the garden views.

The use of simple volumes and materials contributes to the contemporary design we want to achieve.



Our proposal blends well with the existing house while providing a modern edge. The new extension gives a new personality to this house.


See more animations here.


Do you have a similar project? Talk to us today!


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