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Tag: Portugal

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.

And the Pritzker Prize 2011 Goes to…………Eduardo Souto Moura

The Pritzker Architecture Prize is often referred to as the “architecture’s Nobel” and “the profession’s highest honor”. 2011 winner is Portuguese Architect Eduardo Souto Moura.

The purpose of the Pritzker Architecture Prize is to honor annually a living architect whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.

Cinema House for Manoel de Oliveira


Eduardo Souto Moura is the second Portuguese architect to have been given the prize. Alvaro Siza Vieira was the first Portuguese awarded with this prestigious prize.

Contemporary Arts Center Graça Morais


Eduardo Souto Moura was born in Porto, Portugal in 1952. He began his career as an art student, studying sculpture, but eventually switched to architecture. He credits a meeting with Donald Judd in Zurich for the switch from art to architecture.

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, photo by iqbal aalam.


Souto Moura has achieved much praise for his exquisite use of materials – granite, wood, marble, brick, steel, concrete – as well as his unexpected use of colour. Souto Moura is clear on his view of the use of materials, saying, “I avoid using endangered or protected species. I think we should use wood in moderation and replant our forests as we use the wood. We have to use wood because it is one of the finest materials available.”

2 Houses in Ponte de Lima


In an interview with Croquis, he explained, “I began my professional practice designing houses, I don’t know why— houses for my family and for my friends. And those houses, both urban and non-urban, had a typology. I believe that housing is something universal that historically has changed very little. The materials change, the building systems change, but the idea of a house as such is not something that has changed a lot.”

House in Cascais


At a series of forums called the Holcim Forum on sustainable architecture, Souto Moura stated, “For me, architecture is a global issue. There is no ecological architecture, no intelligent architecture, no sustainable architecture — there is only good architecture. There are always problems we must not neglect; for example, energy, resources, costs, social aspects — one must always pay attention to all these.”


Braga Stadium, photo (bottom left) by Carlos Coutinho.


Why Souto de Moura Won the Pritzker

President Obama presents the Pritzker Architecture Prize to Eduardo Souto

My Unexpected Encounter With Professor Pancho Guedes

It was this summer in Lisbon. My best friend Luis invited me to visit the Exhibition: Pancho Guedes – Vitruvius Mozambicanus in the Berardo Collection Museum, Belém.

Exhibition Pancho Guedes

Amancio Guedes, best known as Pancho Guedes is an architect, a sculptor, and a painter. He was born in Portugal in 1925 and spent most of his creative life in Mozambique, where he made more than 500 designs for buildings. His connection with Africa allowed Pancho to liberate himself from the constraints and restrictive ideas that dominate the mainstream of the art world.

Pancho’s architectures range from extravagantly opulent and personal explorations of space and form to austere, sparse buildings designed to meet demanding and strigent financial conditions.

Guedes was part of the legendary Team 10, often referred to as “Team X”, a group of architects and other invited participants who assembled starting in July 1953 at the 9th Congress of CIAM and created a schism within CIAM by challenging its doctrinare approach to urbanism.

Pancho's painting


In 1995 I was lucky enough to have him as my Professor Teacher at the subject of “Project” in my last year of my Architecture Degree. It was always a pleasure to discuss my ideas with Pancho, his enthusiasm was contagious and his comments were enlightened by a sparkling magic often accompanied by challenging visions always pursuing new ideas and possibilities.

I think the main lesson I learned from Pancho was not to have limits. And despite how academic that may sound it still a very important principle that has been helping me to challenge myself to pursuit the best ideas for my projects.

Me and my son with Pancho Guedes

For my great delight and surprise I met Pancho Guedes during my visit to his Exhibition. The chances of finding him there were, maybe, 0.1 in 100, but it happened! And above it’s the photo we took together. He is 84 years old, he is still very active, working in Portugal now, inventing new buildings, painting, sculpting and teaching. What an amazing person!


If you are interested to learn more about Pancho Guedes this is his website and you can also find some movies and interviews to Pancho Guedes in YouTube. Here is the link.

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