Maat, Belém

Many of Lisbon’s most prominent contemporary buildings aim to reaffirm the city’s relationship with the Rio Tejo but none do it so spectacularly as Amanda Levete’s Maat (Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia). A sinuous form that’s been grafted onto a 1908 red-brick power station, the appearance of its 15,000 tessellating white tiles shifts with the light. Within, a cave-like central chamber provides low-lit respite from the dazzling riverbank; above, an undulating roof terrace affords panoramic views of Belém and beyond. Funded by the EDP Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Energias de Portugal, Maat has become a fixture of the city’s arts scene.

Avenida Brasília, 1300-598
+351 21 002 8130

Igreja de Nossa Senhora Auxiliadora, Prazeres

João Simões’ 1964 Igreja de Nossa Senhora Auxiliadora is among the most attractive of the churches built under the deeply Catholic Estado Novo regime. Set in the Colégio dos Salesianos de Lisboa, its concrete-and-glass façade has a near baroque grandeur. The central concrete tower includes windows in the form of the cross, while curved sections behind boast an interlocking glass lattice. A pair of wing-like protrusions give the building an angelic appearance.  

Inside, minimalism mingles with historical opulence: whitewashed walls, a soft, rounded ceiling and pinewood pews meet a fresco and plenty of stained glass.

34 Praça de São João Bosco, 1399-007
+351 21 090 0500

Elevador de Santa Justa, Baixa

This 1902 lift and beloved Lisbon landmark offers an alternative to the steep walk through Chiado, connecting downtown Baixa to the Largo do Carmo. Its metallic neo-gothic style mirrors the work of Gustave Eiffel but in fact one of his students, the Portuguese engineer Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard, was responsible. Decorative openings in the cast-iron walls provide sweeping views on the ascent and, from the top floor, a spiral staircase leads to the even higher viewing platform, 32 metres above sea level.

Rua do Ouro, 1150-60

Images: Shutterstock, Pedro Guimarães, Rodrigo Cardoso

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