The MMI enlargement and remodeling, projected by the architecture Cabinet ARX, Ltd, of brothers Nuno and José Mateus, was a strong driver for the renewal of the museum and its programmatic redefinition.
This project was distinguished with the AICA/MC 2002 award, appointed to the SECIL 2002 award, and to the UE 2003/Mies Van Der Rohe award. It previewed a deep remodeling of the existing structure, resulting in a piece of work that dignifies the social, economical and cultural importance of the fishing for the region.
The remodeling and enlargement of the MMI, in October 2001, lead to an enormous review of its contents and discourse.
Residing now in a temple of modern public art, the MMI gathered in architecture a vigorous impulse for the audacity of its exhibition project. It is important to recognize that the dialogue between the architecture and the permanent exhibitions discourse – mainly composed by artifacts that require exposure techniques less conventional and more dynamic than painting and costume, for example - has never been exempt from imperfections. It's easy to assume that the magnitude of the spaces, geometry and the beams of light which invade the halls and corridors gave our museum a considerable feature of modernity and experimentalism.
The set of design conditionings led the architectural speech to develop through proximity of volumes with relative independence from each other. The partial reutilization of the existing building and its constructive and functional correction, using slightly more than the structure, constituted a first element of the project. A narrow body was attached throughout the existing, articulating new and old, which accommodated not only the accessibilities but also all the technical infrastructures of the building.
In this section are anchored the new volumes: the large lagoon’s room, with its huge side wall; the central black tower of the temporary exhibitions room, enigmatic and floating in the water; the administrative section, the library and the coffee shop. The water, visible from all sections, becomes the connecting element of the museum experience. It is actually the support of its maritime theme and also a potential exhibition subject.
To know more about MMI's arquitectural project:
Museu Marítimo de Ílhavo/ARX Portugal. Edição Caleidoscópio