História_Oceanário de Lisboa

(...) The project, both in terms of architectural and engineering aspects, as well as regarding all issues related to the animals to be displayed, was based on a wealth of scientific knowledge and humanistic values that stress the benefits of a harmonious relationship between Mankind and Nature, and structured around two fundamental concepts: “A sole ocean” and “Life beyond the frontiers of imagination”.
Francisca Menezes Ferreira in the “Oceans Pavilion – 1998 Lisbon World Exhibition”

With a view to addressing pollution issues, which represent a serious threat to oceans, and the overexploitation of terrestrial and marine resources, Expo ‘98 organisers planned to build an aquarium that would keep the Expo ’98 message alive and increase Portugal’s cultural and educational offer.
The result was the Oceanário de Lisboa, a gigantic aquarium fully dedicated to oceans and their conservation.

“The Oceanário celebrates life on Earth by showcasing the huge diversity of species living in our oceans, reminding us of their essential role in keeping our planet healthy and stressing their influence on Earth’s evolution.”
Francisca Menezes Ferreira in the “Oceans Pavilion – 1998 Lisbon World Exhibition”


Oceanário de Lisboa_Edifício dos Oceanos

Celebrating the oceans

The Oceans Building was designed by a team from Cambridge Seven Associates led by American architect Peter Chermayeff, and built by Engil, in collaboration with several specialised companies.

The building was one of the main attractions of the Expo ’98, operating as the Oceans Pavilion. In October 1998, the Oceans Building opened its doors permanently to the public, eternalising the centuries-old bond between Lisbon and the ocean, while simultaneously establishing a link between the past, marked by the discovery of the oceans, and the future, focused on knowledge and marine conservation.

The Oceans Building is connected to the Administrative Building by a bridge symbolising the ramp one would cross to embark on an unforgettable voyage to discover the fascinating marine world.

An anchored ship, ready to sail

Surrounded by water and boasting unique architectural features, the Oceans Building conjures up two enchanting images: an island firmly standing in the middle of the ocean and an anchored ship, ready to set sail on a voyage of discovery.

The building was designed to host an exhibition that always leaves visitors pleasantly surprised. All four sides of the building imitate the geological formations found along the coast and blend in with the contours of the landscapes recreated inside, which can be seen through the glass walls.

In order to better display the various landscapes, the building’s glass walls are covered in a film able to filter sunlight at varying levels.

The imposing main aquarium, which holds approximately 5 million litres of water, represents the global Ocean, housing over one hundred species from four oceans. Four marine habitats are represented around it, creating the illusion of a single aquarium, a sole ocean.

The exhibition features terrestrial and marine ecosystems and several environments, ranging from the North Atlantic habitat to the tropical habitat formed by the Indian Ocean, the Antarctic coastal strip and the giant kelp forests typically found in temperate areas in the Pacific Ocean.


Oceanário de Lisboa_Edifício do Mar

Opened in 2011, the Sea Building has allowed the Oceanário de Lisboa to extend its offer and provide new services, in a bid to encourage people to learn more about the oceans. The building’s façade is covered in ceramic tiles in three shades of white, which imitate fish scales, for an innovative, organic appearance.

With the opening of the new building, came the first temporary exhibition “Sea Turtles. The journey”, which was open to the public until September 2014. This exhibition focused on the life history of sea turtles. Visitors were invited to discover more about these marine reptiles and their remarkable voyage. This exhibition featured an innovative aquarium, boasting a unique, rare design.

The second temporary exhibition “Forests Underwater by Takashi Amano” opened on April 2015. The exhibition launches the amazing world of tropical forests and their aquatic sistems through an outstanding nature aquarium that will immerse visitors in the magnificience of these ecosystems as they are part of their balance and envolving them on their conservation, accompanied by an original music of Rodrigo Leão, a Portuguese famous musician and composer.

Click here to know more about the exhibition “Forests Underwater by Takashi Amano”.

The Tejo Restaurant, located along the route, is an ideal spot for visitors to take a break and have brunch or relax over lunch without having to leave the Oceanário.

The Sea Building also features the Mar da Palha Auditorium. Seating 117 people, it is an ideal venue for a wide range of events, from theatrical plays to seminars, in addition to providing support to the education and recreational programmes organised by the Oceanário de Lisboa.

The Sea Building also features a ticket and customer service desk, which serves the entire Oceanário.