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The Lisbon-born architect will be the special guest on Wednesday 28 September, when he will discuss his work with architecture historian Francesco Dal Co
Manuel Aires Mateus, founder of the eponymous Lisbon-based architecture practice together with his brother Francisco, will be the guest of honour at a conference entitled “The architecture of Aires Mateus”, to be held on Wednesday 28 September in the Architecture Gallery as part of the “building, dwelling, thinking” programme. The Portuguese architect will discuss his projects with architecture historian Francesco Dal Co.
Manuel Aires Mateus believes that architecture, unlike fashion, is an art that persists over time and is characterised by its durability. It is the art of permanence and must endure not only physically but also conceptually - which is yet another aspect of time. An idea lasts longer than its physical manifestation, he argues. The concept of time in architecture takes on different meanings. One relates to the persistence of a physical object over its entire lifetime while the other is bound up with life, which means not just function and image but also the idea of truth. Architecture represents a precise viewpoint. It assumes a position because it is not indifferent to life. However, architecture must be able to withstand changes in usage, like classic buildings that are highly flexible in terms of their function and typology. This is a relationship with time. Architecture becomes a container that supports life: it is adaptable and can be reconfigured over time.
Amongst his most important projects are the EDP headquarters in Lisbon, the school in Vila Nova da Barquinha, the new museum complex in Lausanne, the Faculty of Architecture and Design in Belgium, the Arts Centre in Sines, an installation for the Venice Biennale in 2012 and numerous homes throughout Portugal. One project of particular interest is the Farol Museu de Santa Marta, the Lighthouse Museum located on the beach of Santa Marta in Cascais, near Lisbon in Portugal. The museum focuses on two main themes: the everyday life of the lighthouse keeper and the history of the local area. In addition to the museum itself, the Farol Museu de Santa Marta complex also includes the original lighthouse dating from 1864, whose facades and roofs have been renovated using ceramic tiles in two colours: optical white and ocean blue.
Manuel Aires Mateus was born in Lisbon in 1963 and graduated from the Architecture Faculty of the Universidade Técnica de Lisboa in 1986. He began collaborating with architect Gonçalo Byrne in 1983, then in 1988 began working together with his brother Francisco as part of an independent practice, initially housed at Byrne’s studio. In view of the growing scale of their projects, they moved to an independent space to enable them to fulfil demand. Since then, their projects have increased considerably in both scale and number and have won numerous national and international awards. The Aires Mateus brothers have been invited as guest speakers at seminars and conferences and they also teach at several international universities, including the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University and the Accademia di Architettura in Mendrisio.
They currently run two practices in Lisbon which have carried out numerous international projects in partnership with local firms.
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