Manuel Aires Mateus was born in Lisbon in 1963 and he graduated at the Facultad de Arquitectura at Universidade Tecnica in 1986.
He started collaborating with architect Gonçalo Byrne in 1983 – fundamental experience for his professional education – till the foundation in 1988 of Aires Mateus & Associados studio, together with his brother Francisco, working on private and public works, gaining several awards and international competitions.
The experience in the cultural Portuguese environment, dominated by internationally relevant personalities as Tavora, Siza, Souto de Moura and Byrne, haven’t limited or prevented the elaboration of a personal “style” characterized, since its beginnings, by an evident and recognizable mark.
Aires Mateus’ architecture, which only superficially can be related to the international “minimalism”, is based on the research on space and materials that, although recognizing the mass as the principal element, aims to eliminate gravity to stress the importance of lightness through a substantial de-materialization.
This can be obtained playing with the contrast of full or void spaces, as well as choosing and manufacturing accurately the materials, even the more gravity-connotated ones as stones or marbles.
In their constructions, the Mateus brothers seem to re-think the images of the quarries, where the prints left by the excavation generate new shapes.
Among their most significant works realized by Aires Mateus & Associados are “Casa ad Alenquer” (2001), “Casa en el litoral de Alentejo” (2003) and “Casa Brejos de Azeitão” (2003), and public works as “Rectorado de la Universidade Nova” (2001), “Museo de Arquitectura” (2006) and “Edifícios de Escritórios in Lisbon” (2008), “Centro Cultural de Sines” (2000), “Museo del Faro in Cascais” (2003), “Almedina bookshops” (2000-2002).
Their projects have being published by numerous architecture publications, as 2G, Arquitectura Viva, Architectural Review, Architektur Aktuel, Casabella, Detail, Space, Techniques et Architecture.
Since 1997 Manuel Aires Mateus has been professor at Lisbon Lusiada University and since 1998 at the Independent University of Lisbon; from 2002 to 2005 he was Visiting Professor at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University.
Since 2001 he has been teaching at Mendrisio Architecture Academy.