The Tejo Power Station

The Tejo Power Station

Lisbon has a museum dubbed MAAT – Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology. It’s a very modern museum in two parts, one a new building that challenges even the SF MOMA for design, with a kinship to the wonderful Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. A cantilevered terrace tops the building, which inside has a deep oval pit for huge installations. Lots of wonderful modern art.

What makes MAAT so unique is that it goes beyond the exhibits, which revel in modern technology and display, with social relevancy a feature. The second building was once a power station for the suburbs to the west of Lisbon and houses some exhibit space, but more interestingly, and totally unexpected, also houses the power plant that once supplied all that power. Massive amounts of machinery, dangerous walkways (not allowed for visitors), multiple levels are enhanced with lighting and sound that turn the power station into a stunning art exhibit. Walking around, it’s like an industrial Disneyland. Some machines even start turning. There’s also an educational section with interactive exhibits for kids.

MAAT is almost two years old but doesn’t seem to be in most of the guides to Lisbon, which is too bad, as the power plant is the most visually amazing place I’ve seen here, although I’m sure many people prefer the antiquity.

Here’s a slideshow with lots of power plant photos: