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Expo 98 Pavilion of Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal
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The architect's masterpiece, both for the tension he manages to create between a necessary, desired and difficult monumentality, and the delicate articulation - with the program and the location - both for daring of the solution and its intensive effect of a representative image symbol. The palatial theme, which he used first in the school in Setubal, is here taken to expressive heights, combining the 'colossal' arcade with it's reflection and sublimation in the waters of the quay. The roof of the large ceremonial area is the finishing touch to the effect, which reminds us of Niemeyer and the most innovative of modern architecture and engineering in concrete and steel. It is an enormous 'shell', appearing to throw off its supports (only visible as the skeleton, like armour), and the down-facing curvature (an 'anti-dome'), like a reinforced tent, ephemeral and paradoxically vulnerable, with apparent fragility, but an enormous plastic force.