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Portuguese Pavilion, Expo 1998, Lisbon. Architect, Alvaro Siza. Two powerful, 15-metre high columns support the no more than 20-centimetre thick concrete ceiling which is reinforced by stainless steel cables set in the walls hanging overhead like a great sail. Photo: Quintin Lake

Portuguese Pavilion, Expo 1998, Lisbon. Architect, Alvaro Siza. Photo: Quintin Lake

Glazed tiles on the Portuguese Pavilion, Expo 1998, Lisbon. Architect, Alvaro Siza. Photo: Quintin Lake

The Pavilion of Portugal in Expo 1998 designed by Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza with the contribution of Eduardo Souto de Moura makes reinforced concrete seem weightless with the building’s elegant sail-like roof.

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Photography  © Quintin Lake, 2011

Main entrance to Oriente Station, Lisbon at dusk. Photo: Quintin Lake

Detail of the roof at Oriente Station. Photo: Quintin Lake

Glass and steel roof above the rail platform at Oriente Station, Lisbon. Photo: Quintin Lake

Looking up at the roof of Oriente Station. Photo: Quintin Lake

This was the first Calatrava building I’d seen in the flesh and it’s a hugely exciting building to experience and to photograph. The exuberant organically inspired forms of Calatrava were a favourite for me when I was an architecture student. The huge cantilevered canopy at the pedestrian entrance and the steel ‘trees’ covering the train platforms are particularly joyful. However, not so sweet and what I’ve chosen not to show in these photos is the very poor cosmetic condition of much of the building, peeling pain, rust, cracked glass and thick layers of grime on white panted steel. The internal exposed concrete structure has also been comprehensively Jackson Pollocked with pigeon droppings. Although only skin deep these are the first qualities which most visitors would probably notice which is a shame for such exciting architecture. The question as to wether these issues should be considered design flaws for a public building or simply stinginess on the part of maintenance schedule is probably not simple to answer. Certainly based on my observation the same issues plague most painted steel hi-tech architecture after a decade or so of use from the Pompidou to Grimshaw’s Waterloo Station.

Oriente Station (Gare do Oriente) is one of the main transport hubs in Lisbon, Portugal. It was designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava it was finished in 1998 for the Expo ’98 world’s fair in Parque das Nações, where it is located. It encompasses a Lisbon Metro station, a high-speed, commuter and regional train hub, a local, national and international bus station, a shopping centre and a police office. Oriente Station is one of the world’s largest stations, with 75 million passengers per year which makes it as busy as Grand Central Terminal in New York.

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Viewing platform at the top of the Santa Justa Lift (Elevador de Santa Justa), Lisbon, Portugal. Photo: Quintin Lake

The Santa Justa Lift (Elevador de Santa Justa or Carmo Lift) is a gloriously eccentric structure in the centre of Lisbon designed by Raul Mesnier de Ponsard, an engineer born in Porto to French parents. Raul Ponsard was an apprentice of Gustave Eiffel and returned to Lisbon with grand design ideas. He petitioned the royal house who provided all of the funding. Construction began in 1900 and was finished in 1902, originally powered by steam. The iron lift is 45 metres tall and is decorated in neogothic style, with a different pattern on each storey.

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