A museum-wide architecture intervention by SO – IL

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.

SO – IL (Florian Idenburg, Martina Baratta, Yuanjun Summer Liu)
Clanet e Brito (Edgar Brito)
Construction and installation
ArtWorks (José Miguel Pinto, Francisca Marques, Valentim Neves)
Technical support
Versátil Partilha, Campus Fundação EDP
Security plan
Paulo Cardoso

Learn more on maat Mode 2020 and about other things going on during its unfolding by checking out projects such as The Peepshow – Artists from the EDP Foundation Portuguese Art Collection, Memovolts – Stories from the EDP Foundation Energy Heritage Collection, or Sound Capsules.