SO-IL's Beeline

John Hill
12. June 2020
Photo: Iwan Baan

The Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT) reopened on the Lisbon waterfront on June 10 with Beeline, a museum-wide architectural intervention by SO-IL, the Brooklyn practice of Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu.

The EDP Foundation's MAAT opened in October 2016 in a sinuous building designed by the firm of Amanda Levete. The heart of the low-slung museum is a large elliptical space beneath the building's accessible rooftop. Beeline occupies the whole museum, most boldly inserting a two-story structure in the center of the ellipse and creating a new access point into the museum from the city side. 

Although the intervention can be seen as an exhibition in its own right, it operates as an armature for exhibitions, including SO – IL Currents, which occupies the ramp around the elliptical space and presents the "temporary architectures" by the designers of Beehive. Installation and exhibition were originally set to open in March but were delayed due to COVID-19; they are both on display until January 11, 2021. Below is a tour through Beehive using photographs by Iwan Baan.

MAAT is connected to the city by a curving footbridge that traverses eight lanes of traffic and railroad tracks. (Photo: Iwan Baan)
Beeline makes itself known on this city side of the building through a green vestibule attached to the loading dock (the main entrance is on the river side). (Photo: Iwan Baan)
Most visitors will not enter through the new "clandestine" entrance, but here we're using it as a starting point for a tour through the interior of Beeline. (For a view of the installation from the main entrance, check out Baan's one-minute video on Instagram.) (Photo: Iwan Baan)
A raised walkway connects to the central structure set inside the large elliptical gallery. (Photo: Iwan Baan)
The top portion of the structure serves as a small amphitheater for events — ones now conditioned by social distancing and wearing masks to stop the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo: Iwan Baan)
The walkways lead to a spiral stair in blue ... (Photo: Iwan Baan)
... that descends to a circular space punctuated by cabinets and a round space with a ladder. (Photo: Iwan Baan)
That round space is a small play area for kids. (Photo: Iwan Baan)
Seen from outside, the two-story structure in the elliptical space exhibits SO-IL's penchant for metal frames covered in stretched translucent fabric. (Photo: Iwan Baan)
Another view shows how the fabric works: unifying the disparate pieces of the exhibition/installation. (Photo: Iwan Baan)
SO-IL Currents occupies the narrow ramps, while gauzy walls reveal the large structure at the heart of Beeline. (Photo: Iwan Baan)
Projects in SO-IL Current include Pole Dance, the 2010 installation at MoMA PS1 that introduced many people to Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu. (Photo: Iwan Baan)
The ticket counter at the main entrance is, like other parts of MAA, shrouded in stretched fabric. (Photo: Iwan Baan)

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