Pavilion of Portugal / Pavilhão de Portugal

Expo Lisbon 1998 - Architecture, pavilions, gardens, urban furniture, pictures, drawings, videos
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Pavilion of Portugal / Pavilhão de Portugal

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Text from a CD of Expo 2000 Hannover - The History of World Fairs

The country's best-known living architect, Alvaro Siza, was commissioned to construct the host country's exhibition building. This was a very difficult task, as the clients were not sure at the beginning what the building was to do during and after Expo '98. Alvaro Siza therefore concentrated first on the design of the facades. The Portuguese pavilion is divided into two building parts separated by a two-metre wide corridor covered by a roof. Each part of the pavilion was designed differently. Thanks to the stone base surrounding the pavilion and the dazzling white plastered walls, the two parts appear to be optically linked together. In the northern vicinity, the pavilion opens up through a U-shaped courtyard onto olive gardens that are separated by walls taller than a man's waist, a reference to the ancient olive grove that gave the neighbourhood its name Olivais. On the harbour side, monumental arcades decorate the façade, whose strict row of pylons is softened by their different diameters. The main building is based on a module of five metres by seven and a half metres, a measurement already used for the car park.

The high interior rooms are located around a square inner courtyard, a traditional motif in Portuguese architecture. Here are the reception rooms for the guests of honour and a restaurant. Edouardo Souto de Moura had set up the exhibition and installed three Black Boxes in the rooms of Alvaro Siza because films and multimedia shows were shown there. After Expo '98 and the reconstruction of the building, the Portuguese pavilion was to be used by the government's council of ministers.the second part of the building is the covered festival square, which was also used for the opening ceremony of the World Expo. Two huge 15-metre high porticos support the thin 20-centimetre layer of concrete attached to the walls and fortified with stainless steel cables.

Like a gigantic sail, the roof is spread out over the large 65 x 50 metre square, light and without lighting and drainage facilities. The rainwater is drained away from the side of the pool by means of a small incline and falls directly into the ground. Alvaro Siza has succeeded in making the two parts of the building a worthy representation of the claim of Portuguese democracy with a clear and in no way intimidating architecture. In the festival square, the visitor is not overwhelmed by the roof, despite the three-metre depression in the middle of it, because it has not been directly attached to the supporting walls. The pervasive light that is present here and can be seen through the steel cables gives the whole construction a light, floating appearance.



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Re: Pavilion of Portugal / Pavilhão de Portugal

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Text extracted from "Guia Expo'98"

Duration of the visit: 30 minutes
Time: 10am to 8pm
Number of visitors per visit: 250-300, every 10 minutes
Pavilion architect: Siza Vieira
Interior architect: Souto Moura
Director: Anabela Carvalho
Exhibition area: 1,500 m².
Total number of visitors per day: 15,000 to 18,000
Additional information: Access is through a door located in the ceremonial square, but the queue is along the façade overlooking the Alameda dos Oceanos
Shop: replicas of the exhibits: Navegar perfume, videos, CD-Rom and books.


This is the national pavilion, and it is through it that visitors "dive" into the theme of Expo'98

In this year, when the half-millennium of Vasco da Gama's arrival in India is being commemorated, the theme of travel as a link between past, present and future was inevitable in this pavilion.

Pavilion of Portugal / Pavilhão de Portugal - Expo'98
Pavilion of Portugal / Pavilhão de Portugal - Expo'98

By considering the discoveries as a mutual discovery and the oceans as an archive of humanity and a heritage to be studied and preserved, the visitors look back at the past and make an appeal: it is imperative to leave the oceans intact for future generations.

Far from the static concept of a museum, the Pavilion of Portugal offers a set of images in constant motion, from real objects rescued from the sea to the reconstruction of the archaeological discovery of a wreck in the Forte de S. Julião da Barra (Oeiras) area.

The visit takes place on a single floor of the building designed by Siza Vieira, in a multimedia exhibition that spreads over three cores: Myths, Dreams and Reality, Ocean Builders and Inventors of the Future.

Visitors begin by concentrating in the interior atrium. While the doors do not open, they can familiarise themselves with the central theme of the pavilion by consulting multimedia stations. They answer questions related to environmental issues and realise the relationship between the pioneering spirit of the Portuguese and their role in the future of the oceans they helped to open up.

When 250 to 300 people have gathered, the doors open to the first core. The idea is to forget space and time, and start a journey of knowledge for all humanity.

It is a creative version of the explosion of routes, products, fauna and flora, focusing on the role of the Portuguese in the construction of the present world, through reworked images projected on several screens. The ancient myths linked to the oceans, which led man to want to go further, are revisited. The visitor is guided through the multimedia show itself, evolving in a dreamlike environment of a time populated by monsters and mermaids. Travelling naturally through the core, he finds himself in the film The Journey.

Pavilion of Portugal / Pavilhão de Portugal - Expo'98
Pavilion of Portugal / Pavilhão de Portugal - Expo'98

New doors then open, initiating the second core. The highlight of the show is the objects recovered from the shipwreck, displayed in glass cases and reproduced in giant size on the walls. Here, "under" a hemispherical screen, the visitor has the sensation of being underwater, witnessing the reconstruction of the moment when one of the ships of the "Carreira das Indias" was archaeologically recovered and sank in the Tagus, in sight of the port of arrival, and which specialists believe to be, most probably, Our Lady of the Martyrs.


We then come to the last nucleus, where there is a call for a shared paternity, conscious of a new relationship between man and the sea.

Back in the present and in the real space - there is a real window, but natural light enters in a filtered way - the visitor is again confronted with environmental issues, through a giant screen (virtual window). As some of the images are generated in real time, people act symbolically in this context. In addition to the exhibition inside the pavilion, a wide-ranging entertainment programme is planned, prepared in collaboration with the National Commission for the Commemoration of Portuguese Discoveries. The journey of sounds and tastes, which also symbolically evokes the different regions of the country, takes place in the pavilion's ceremonial square and restaurant.

In addition to its two floors and a basement, this project by the Porto architect includes a square under a giant reinforced concrete canopy. This is where the pavilion's official public ceremonies and entertainment programme take place.



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