Torre Vasco da Gama

Torre Vasco da Gama, 1990-173 Lisboa, Portugal

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The Vasco da Gama Tower is a 145-metre (476 ft) lattice tower with skyscraper in Lisbon, Portugal, built over the Tagus river. It is named after the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, the first European to arrive in India by sail, in 1498. The architects of the tower were Leonor Janeiro, Nick Jacobs and SOM (Skidmore, Owings and Merrill). The steel structure, representing the sail of a caravel, was assembled by engineering company Martifer. The tower was built in 1998 for the Expo '98 World's Fair. At the 120-metre (390 ft) stage, there was an observation deck and, just below it, a luxury panoramic restaurant. At the base of the tower was a three-story building that served as the European Union Pavilion during the Expo. Both the observation deck and the restaurant were closed in October 2004. While they were open, the tower was the tallest structure in Portugal open to the public (excluding bridges). The base building was to be leased for office space after the closing of the Expo, but never found tenants. Instead, it was used for one-off events, like the world premiere of the new Mini car in 2001. In 2006 the tower was climbed by Alain Robert, a solo urban climber. He was sponsored by Optimus Telecommunications, a Portuguese mobile phone company, that used the climb as part of a marketing campaign for a recently released product. Parque Expo received permission for a plan by Portuguese architect Nuno Leónidas to expand on the riverside, for a luxury hotel with 178 rooms in 20 floors. The base building was demolished from July to September 2007, and construction of the hotel started in October 2007. The hotel is called "Myriad by Sana Hotels", managed by Portuguese company Sana Hotels. The observation deck and the panoramic restaurant are still accessible through the three current panoramic elevators.

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