EXPO 98 in Lisbon kicks off the new year with the completion of the Utopia Pavilion, a 41,000m2 covered stadium designed by Portuguese Architect Regino Cruz in collaboration with the international bureau of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. The pavilion contains a main hall (the Atlantic) and an auxiliary hall (the Tagus), which can be interconnected to accommodate up to 16,500 people, as well as an exhibition space, gymnasium, restaurant, vip reception room, support facilities and 12 shops.
The roof framework is designed to recall an upturned hull of a fifteenth- century sailing vessel. Glued timber, manufactured by Weisrock, was chosen for its light weight, and therefore reduced foundation costs, and its tensile and compressive strength. It is also rustproof, fireproof, and maintenance-free, although joints and bolt work must be examined every two years.
The 50ha expo site is at the heart of a 310ha waterfront development site along 5km of the River Tagus. The construction of a second bridge across the Tagus is part of an infrastructure strategy which also includes ring roads, railway lines and a new station.
expo 98 is open between 22 May and 30 September 1997. Taking as its theme 'The Oceans, a Heritage for the Future', it aims to explore the ocean's cultural, economic and leisure potential, and examine related environmental concerns.