The History of World Expositions
[All World Expositions]
[Home(EXPO 2000)]

Copyright: Luiz Trigueiros und Claudio Sat: Architecture. Lisbon Expo'98. Lissabon, 1998, S.123

Portugal’s most famous living architect, Alvaro Siza, constructed the exhibition building of the host country. This was an especially difficult task as the client did not initially know what function the building was to serve either during Expo ’98 or afterwards. Consequently, Siza first of all concentrated on designing the façades. The Portuguese Pavilion consists of two completely different sections separated by a covered two-metre wide gap. Each side of the pavilion has a different design, while the stone base running around it and the dazzling white-plastered walls lend it visual consistency. On the north side, for example, a U-shaped inner courtyard leads to olive tree gardens – a reference to the olive groves which gave the Olivais city district its name - which are separated from one another by high walls. On the harbour side, monumental arcades form the façade, the severe effect of the pillared rows being somewhat softened by the varying cross-sections of the pillars themselves. The proportions of the main building reflect those of a basic module measuring 5m x 7.5 m, the dimensions of the grid of struts used in the underground car park.

The high interiors are arranged around a rectangular courtyard, a traditional feature of Portuguese architecture. Here, the reception rooms for the guests of honour and a restaurant were housed. The exhibition was designed by Edouardo Souto de Moura who installed three black boxes in Siza’s rooms, as the exhibition was to feature above all films and multimedia shows. After Expo ’98 and following alteration work, the Portuguese Pavilion is to be used by the government’s council of ministers.

A covered festival square, which was also used for the world exposition’s opening ceremony, forms the second part of the building. Two powerful, 15-metre high columns support the no more than 20-centimetre thick concrete ceiling which is reinforced by stainless steel cables set in the walls. The roof, lightweight and devoid of lighting or drainage systems, spans the 65 x 50 metre plaza like a mighty sail. Rainwater runs down the slightly sloping roof towards the harbour basin and falls freely to the earth. With both sections of the building, Siza succeeded in expressing the image of dignity to which the Portuguese democracy lays claim in pure but by no means intimidating architecture. For example, the roof, which sinks three metres towards its centre, does not give visitors a sense of oppression, because it is not suspended directly from the walls which support it. The daylight falling between the steel cables lends the whole design an aerial lightness.

deutsch | english
1851 | 1862 | 1867 | 1873 | 1876 | 1889 | 1893 | 1900 | 1904 | 1929 |
1933 | 1937 | 1939 | 1958 | 1962 | 1967 | 1970 | 1992 | 1998 | 2000
The Lisbon World Exposition 1998
Dignified forms
Year: 1998City: LisbonCountry: Portugal
Duration: 22nd May - 30th September 1998



Printversion - Click Here