Pavilion of Portugal

Pavilion of Portugal, Lisboa, Portugal, Alvari Siza
Address: Alameda dos Oceanos | LISBON | Portugal
Latitude/Longitude: 38.7658, -9.09533

The Portuguese National Pavilion is a prestigious landmark building designed by Alvaro Siza to host Expo 98 – the world’s largest trade fair. Siza’s shell-like design also served to introduce the ‘ocean & world heritage’ theme of the event and to represent the culture of the host country.

Appointed for the concept and scheme design, Arup provided: structural, mechanical, electrical, and geotechnical engineering; fire safety and lighting design; and specialist acoustic advice.

The pavilion consists of two exhibition areas, one housing main exhibitions, the second providing a large outdoor space for national displays. The most iconic feature of the pavilion, however, is a thin, curved concrete sail which creates a canopy over the ceremonial plaza.

Cables supporting the canopy require enormous tension, provided by a series of 14m high fin-like walls which form porticos on either side of the plaza.

As Lisbon is an area of high seismic activity, the canopy and the building are completely separate, each with its own structural support system.

At the time of construction, the National Pavilion was Lisbon’s largest urban regeneration project since rebuilding the city in the aftermath of an earthquake and tidal wave which ravaged the city in 1775.



⇒ Architecture Guide to LISBON