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27. Altice Arena
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It is the biggest entertainment venue in the country, the pavilion that put Portugal on the map for big events and the biggest international stars. Madonna, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Coldplay, Elton John, Placido Domingo, Lady Gaga, Adele, Guns N’ Roses, Justin Bieber, Robbie Williams, Rosalía, and Pearl Jam are just some of the concerts that have taken place here in the last two decades. It was born as the Pavilion of Utopia for Expo ’98 and during the days of the world fair, it hosted the multimedia show “Oceans and Utopias,” about the myths and legends surrounding the seas, from the origin of the universe to the present day. In four daily sessions over 132 days, the show, featuring mythical figures like Daedalus or Hercules, attracted almost four million viewers.

Like many of the infrastructures created for Expo ’98, such as the Vasco da Gama Tower, the inspiration for this pavilion also came from the oceans. Architect Regino Cruz, associated with the international firm Skidmore, Owings & Merril (SOM), designed a pavilion that resembles an inverted caravel inside, with a wooden support structure for the roof. From the outside, although some see a special ship, it has the shape of a horseshoe crab, a species that emerged 200 million years ago. From the beginning, this was designed to be a multi-purpose space. In addition to the main hall with a capacity for twenty thousand people, it also has a business center, with an auditorium for 100 people and 11 integrable rooms, and another entertainment hall, the Tejo Room, with a capacity for up to four thousand people. In a true engineering project, Altice Arena – as it is now called after being MEO Arena and Atlântico Pavilion – is prepared for all uses, from sports competitions, as has already happened, to big concerts or conferences, as happens regularly. It has been the main stage of the Web Summit, has hosted a NATO Summit and a Eurovision final, but also the ceremony for the MTV Europe Music Awards, among many other events.

When it was built, to ensure comfort and to use energy rationally, some very specific measures were taken, which still make a difference more than twenty years later. This includes openings at the top of the building that facilitate natural ventilation of the interior atmosphere and ensure cooling between events.

Thanks to Altice Arena, Portugal now has a busy schedule. Until its existence, there was a gap, as there was no enclosed space that could accommodate so many people. The agenda for the coming months is already well filled, but there is still room for more surprises. It’s worth staying tuned.