The Parque das Nações area underwent deep transformation and regeneration, especially from an environmental perspective, thereby enabling great value to be added to all the area’s features, while maximising its potential fruition value for the future.
Among the most important sub-projects that were implemented, the decontamination of soil formerly occupied by oil companies, as well as of underground water deposits, the mothballing of the Beirolas rubbish dump, and the treatment, elimination of pollution, and upgrading of the mouth of the Trancão River deserve particular highlight.
After the preliminary stage involving relocation of the area’s population and business activities, the majority of the existing construction and structures were disassembled and demolished. The works began on a cleared area with construction of a 6.2 km technical gallery for the purposes of housing hot and cold water supply facilities, structures for waste collection by suction, fresh water supply and watering systems, and power supply and fibre-optic telecommunications systems. Construction of the primary networks involving an extension of 40 km followed, together with a lifting station for domestic waste disposal and two power substations.
Lastly, all secondary and surface infrastructure was built, in general, and the volume of work involved laying out a total of 286 Km in piping for gas, fresh water, watering, automatic urban solid waste collection, and domestic and riverine sewerage collection networks, and including four lifting stations for domestic waste collection processing, two solid waste treatment stations, and two pumping stations to supply the watering systems.
Construction of the pavement for pedestrian areas involved laying out 220,000 square metres in vidraco white stone, 180,000 square metres in granite cobblestone, and 130,000 square metres in concrete pavers. About 650,000 square metres of parking facilities were constructed.
This renewal operation included as well the construction of a new network of roadways and accessibility features, bringing together various means of public transport and major road and railways infrastructure (namely the Vasco da Gama Bridge, on-ramps to the Northern Highway, Lisbon’s Inner Ring Road, suburban trains, underground network, and the city’s roadways system), which were all interfaced through construction of an Multi-modal Transports Station – the Oriente Station.
At the same time, various renovation and renewal interventions were implemented along various roadway axes within the areas surrounding the Intervention Zone, with particular emphasis on works impacting on the Relógio Rotunda, Marechal Gomes da Costa Avenue, Alfredo Bensaúde Avenue, Prior Velho Node, José Queirós Square, and Infante D. Henrique Avenue.
The Parque das Nações is the first and most well-known Portuguese experiment in integrated urban space management.
The Parque das Nações covers 340 ha, with 5 km of riverfront area on the Tejo river estuary integrated into a 60 ha area around the Doca dos Olivais [Olive Groves Dock] – built in the 1940s for use as a hydroplane airport.
The opportunity to create this ambitious project arose when Lisbon was nominated to organize the last World’s Fair of the 20th century, EXPO ‘98.
The urban design concept for the Parque das Nações corresponded to an improvement of the city’s relationship to the River. Recovering the environment and the landscape, repurposing its use, and ensuring the integration of this space in the fabric of the city – these were the means to the end of generating a new centrality in the Lisbon metropolitan area.
The foundation for this was the 1st urbanization phase which corresponded to the planning and creation of EXPO ‘98, which compassed the design of the public space and the built-up area, including its urban support structure (residential areas, facilities, services, urban infrastructure, parking lots, and green spaces).
Thereby, EXPO ‘98 not only constituted the beginning of the urban and environmental requalification of this zone, but also the modernization and internationalization of the city of Lisbon, in terms of the repurposing and requalification, accessibility and transportation, facilities, services, and infrastructure of the urban fabric and the events make up its identity.
The 2nd Urbanization Phase
The initial plan for the Parque das Nações brought about the opportunity to create a new city, of which architecture, in its most varied expressions, was the greatest component.
As a large-scale undertaking, the project proved to be a unique opportunity to apply new concepts for the urban environments of the future, especially as regards environmental matters.
Examples of this are the Portugal Pavilion, the Atlantico Pavilion, the Oceanário, the Camões Theater, the Vasco da Gama Tower and the Oriente Train Station.