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Copyright: Luiz Trigueiros und Claudio Sat: Architecture. Lisbon Expo'98. Lissabon, 1998, S.134

With the Oceans Pavilion, whose aquarium contains five million litres of water, the architect (and diving enthusiast, Peter Chermayeff) surpassed even his aquarium in Osaka, which up until then had been the largest in the world. He placed the building in the middle of the former water airport basin, the Doca dos Olivais, situated at the centre of the exhibition grounds. Constructed on poles, the cube-shaped pavilion – which is accessible only over footbridges – seems to float like a ship on the water. A 6,000 cubic-metre basin and four individual aquariums at each corner contain some 15,000 fish of 200 species. It attempts to reproduce in miniature the different biospheres of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans and the Antarctic. Visitors are led down dark, cool corridors, where loudspeakers emit the sounds of the ocean, past the viewing windows to cast a glance into the depths of the underwater worlds.

The other pavilions attempted to convey the subject of the ocean with the aid of the new audio-visual media, finds from the sea or models. For the Oceanography Pavilion, architect Joã Luîs Carrilho da Carça chose two white blocks – one recumbent, the other a narrow, 12-metre high tower. Virtually devoid of openings, the building was intended as a haven of rest amid the exhibition’s colourful throng thanks to its unadorned simplicity. At night, the façade proved ideal for projecting large-scale images. On the northern side was a rectangular courtyard with a ramp leading to the entrance on the first floor. From there, visitors had access to the various exhibition rooms along narrow corridors displaying projected images. In contrast with the simplicity of the exterior, the interior decoration corresponded exactly to the exhibits and complied with the guiding rule behind the exhibition’s conception. Despite this, the architects never lost sight of the subsequent purpose of the building as a centre for research and science.

The seafaring section, showing gigantic ship’s hulls was devoted to the history of earlier navigation systems and types of ship. Through a corridor lined with old world charts recalling Magellan’s first round-the-world voyage in 1519-1520, visitors arrived in the research section on cartography and the study of physical phenomena, where maps belonging to Columbus and Vasco da Gama were projected on the floor and walls. The following section contained information on deep-sea diving and the technology of submarines. Finally, the ground floor housed the exhibition on the exploitation of marine resources, divided up into harbours, fishing and oil extraction. In the pavilion’s central, 35-metre high main room, a huge ship was laid bare, revealing the different stages of construction. Other life-size ships could also be seen in the Seafaring Pavilion in the former shipyard.

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The Lisbon World Exposition 1998
The oceans between reality and virtual reality
Year: 1998City: LisbonCountry: Portugal
Duration: 22nd May - 30th September 1998



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