Major new arts and technology centre commissioned by the EDP Foundation starts on site

News: New public space for Lisbon breaks ground

July 16 2014

The EDP Foundation Arts & Technology Centre is a new public building located on the Belém waterfront in Lisbon, renewing access to the Tagus and restoring the historic connection between the city and the water.

The 7,000m² of new public space will accommodate a trans-disciplinary programme of exhibitions, public events and community engagement; a new discursive space for the city.

The topographic form blends structure into landscape in a move that creates visual and physical permeability between inside and outside. A space to be appropriated by the public, it allows people to walk over and under as well as through the Centre, and access the city via a new footbridge over the railway tracks. The roof becomes an outdoor room, a physical and conceptual connection to the city’s heart, where you can turn away from the river and enjoy the vista of the cityscape, and at night, watch a film with Lisbon as your backdrop.

At high tide the steps are submerged, creating a permeable threshold that changes with the tide. Sunlight is reflected from the water onto the overhanging roof, bouncing the light into the building, and tracing the shifting patterns of water onto the gallery floor.

Inspired by Lisbon’s rich material heritage, calçada-tile pavements are subtly reinterpreted under foot, and 3D ceramic tiles articulate the façade, expressing the traditional use of ceramics in the area.

Construction began in June 2014 after the site was cleared and the Centre will open in 2016.