The research project called ‘Grand Projects – Architectural and Urbanistic Operations after the 1998 Lisbon World Exposition’ aims at identifying, characterizing, debating, and reflecting the urban policies and architectural Works produced in Portugal after the 1998 Lisbon World Exposition (Expo98). The study is grounded on the conviction that the effects of this ‘urban laboratory’ cannot dispense a predominantly analytical and interpretative work, capable of mapping and qualifying the urban, projectual, and technological culture implemented in Portugal in the two decades that followed the Expo98 ventures.
In 2008, a decade past over the Lisbon Exposition, the Lisbon Municipality presented its ‘General Plan for Waterfront Interventions’ (Plano Geral de Intervenções da Frente Ribeirinha – PGIFR), aiming at establishing new urban continuities, by extending the model of the exposition from the West part of the city to the East (between the Trancão River and the Pedrouços dock), through the adaptation of some harbor infrastructure under the state administration.
The dynamics generated by PGIFR framed the development of projects of both great scale and major strategic importance, e.g., the Champalimaud Foundation in Pedrouços district, designed by Charles Correa (1930-2015); the National Coach Museum in Belém area, designed by Paulo Mendes da Rocha (b. 1928); the EDP Headquarters at Boavista embankment, by Manuel (b. 1963) and Francisco (b.1964) Aires Mateus; the Ribeira das Naus public space, by João Ferreira Nunes (b.1960) and João Gomes da Silva (b.1962); or the future Cruise Terminal in Santa Apolónia, by Carrilho da Graça (b.1952), currently under construction.
The research project ‘Grand Projects – Architectural and Urbanistic Operations after the 1998 Lisbon World Exposition’ seeks to deepen the relations produced by urban interventions with specific contexts in which they operate on. The distinctive feature of this project consists in the launching of a critical approach based on three overlapped analytical focal points: territory, urban and architectural culture, and social impact related with the interventions.
In the present research, Lisbon will serve as a primary study case, from which comparative extrapolations for other cases will be made in order to measure the impact and the culture of the project extracted from the World Exposition experience, namely through the Polis Program (Portuguese Program on Urban Environment). Comparative studies will also be established with similar urban interventions carried out after other great events from the last decade of the 20th century, e.g. the cases of the Spanish cities of Barcelona after the Olympic Games, and Seville after the World Exposition, both in 1992. Another case will be Hannover after the 2000 World Exposition.