Evoking the magnificent sailing ships of Portugal’s Golden Age of Discovery, SOM’s competition-winning Atlantico Pavilion (now called MEO Arena) features an asymmetrical, oxidized zinc roof that appears to float above a glass-walled vestibule. The ovoidal building’s interior is a cathedral-like space, with dramatic laminated-wood trusses that span up to more than 115 meters. A curtain wall allows views of the Tagus River, while operable skylights provide daylighting and natural ventilation.
The facility served as the main special-events venue during the 1998 Lisbon World Exposition, or Expo ’98, and now accommodates a host of activities, including indoor athletic competitions, concerts, and conventions. In addition to a six-lane Olympic running track, the arena contains two halls seating 12,500 and 2,000 spectators, respectively.