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Keywords:

  • architecture;
  • Lisbon;
  • Portugal;
  • postimperialism;
  • urban

Álvaro Siza Vieira's Portuguese Pavilion was the signature architectural showpiece of Lisbon's 1998 world exposition, Expo '98. Designed by the dean of Portuguese architects, and linked to the Portuguese state, the Pavilion attempted to break with older narratives of the country's past, representing the nation as both modern and European. It displays design continuities with older imperial themes, however, and does not escape long-standing entanglements between Portugal's national and imperial projects. The empty Pavilion has failed to achieve a new purpose and is descending into obscurity, perhaps from lack of coherence in its historical, political, and esthetic messages.