In 1988 he founded the Aires Mateus & Associados studio, together with his brother Francisco. Private and public works, numerous awards and international competitions, and the publication of their works in worldwide press releases shape the Aires Mateus brothers as breakthrough figures of the new European architecture, they being characterized by a rigorous research and an extraordinary care in the quality of their works.
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 in order 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.