Manuel and Francisco Aires Mateus were born in Lisbon in 1963 and 1964. They both graduated from “Faculdade de Arquitectura / U.T.L” respectively in 1986 and 1987. They started collaborating with the Arch. Gonçalo Byrne since 1983 and started developing their own projects in 1988. The office Aires Mateus was established independently, although it was housed in Gonçalo Byrne’s studio in the first years. 

The increasing scale of work made them establish a larger and autonomous space to fulfil the demands. Since then, the number of projects has been prolific, resulting in several national and international awards. 

The visibility of their work has made them being invited and accepting lecturing and teaching at several institutions like the Graduate School of Design in Harvard, The Accademia di Architetura in Mendrísio as well as several others in Portugal. The structure right now spans through two studios both based in Lisbon, having several partnerships with local studios for international works.


Architecture is made of space, empty space, void. Void as a limit, determined by matter. A physical limit whose presence, absence and deformation defines a field for life and whose materiality and form is made evident by light. In this installation, the space is carved out of a white monolithic volume, creating an introverted emptiness.T he slits through which the light filters are nothing but absence, determined in its geometry by the intersection of the solids which generate the internal shape. The inner ambience, defined by convex, rather than concave, walls conveys a feeling of extreme compression. 

The surfaces evoke a crystalized movement; resembling tents, blown by wind or water, however their solid materialization creates an even stronger relation with the body, which barely fits inside. The exploration of scale and proportion is pushed to the limit. The experience is one of an intimate individual relationship with the space and a strong tension towards the light, whose essential role becomes evident.