MAAT is activated with the architectural project designed by NY-based studio SO –IL «Beeline». The intervention turns the museum into a landscape of encounters and conversations, taking audiences through elevated pathways, stage areas, audio stations, workshop zones and a media room.
This large temporary intervention, especially commissioned to host the programme, takes over the entire space of maat, opening a temporary new entrance facing the city through the loading door of the building, in addition to the existing entrance facing the river. “This transformation not only opens up the building to new perspectives, but also challenges the implied hierarchies of spaces in a traditional museum” state the architects.
«Currents» and «Beeline»
June 10, 2020 – February 2, 2021
Av. Brasília, 1300-598 Lisboa
Beeline also includes design strategies specifically developed to become permanent assets of the museum, namely an “open storage system” made of mobile pods and display tables that lends itself to multiple reconfigurations upon need.
Beeline is an unprecedented architectural intervention commissioned to the New York-based studio SO – IL that occupies the entirety of maat’s building. SO – IL’s largest piece of ephemeral architecture to date, Beeline is designed to host maat Mode, a six-month-long experimental participatory public programme of talks and other events initiated by maat’s new Director Beatrice Leanza, a project presented as an open-ended exercise in interrogating the role of cultural institutions in society and prototyping the future museum.
In the words of the architects, “Beeline might trigger insight into our perception of space as well as time. An additional pathway dissects the maat building both in plan and section. This shortcut connects the entrance from the quayside directly, with a new access point facing the city. This gesture not only transforms the way visitors enter and experience the museum, but it also links the formal entry to a new ‘clandestine’ entrance through the loading dock. As such, this transformation not only opens up the building to new perspectives, but also challenges the implied hierarchies of spaces in a traditional museum and provides flexibility for an ever-evolving organisation.”
The intervention turns the museum into a landscape of encounters and conversations, taking audiences through elevated pathways, stage areas, sound capsules, video rooms and workshop zones. A further set of other design strategies have been developed that will become permanent assets of the museum, namely an «open storage system» that lends itself to multiple reconfigurations and deployment upon need, and a «mobile staging structure», which can similarly be deployed according to the requirements of programmes in various areas.
CURRENTS. TEMPORARY ARCHITECTURES BY SO – IL
Founded in New York in 2008, SO – IL is an architectural studio led by Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu that not only produces permanent buildings but also thinks about architecture in relation to time and duration. How long does something need to exist in the world for it to become architecture?
For SO – IL, temporary architectures — installations, pavilions, performances — allow practice to enter into dialogue with contemporary conditions, while the outcomes of their experimentations inform the studio’s more permanent work. This exhibition has been specially produced to accompany the major architectural intervention, Beeline, the studio’s largest ephemeral work to date and their first in Europe, and which will occupy the entirety of maat’s building for over six months. Currents is a timely reflection on discreet but poignant gestures that interrogate the very nature of architecture as a cultural practice, both as agency and artefact.
Twelve of the temporary projects the studio has formulated over the past decade are organised in six thematic pairs, or “currents”, bringing subjects the studio explores in its work to the fore. The exhibition is installed along the elliptical ramp at the heart of the museum, where 1:1 mock-ups, ephemera, models, books, the architects’ own voices and writings, critical texts penned by New York-based curator Beatrice Galilee and video contributions of past commissioners allow us “to meet the dynamic forces and soft transitions that ebb and flow in the life of one of the most exciting international architecture studios today”.