The International Zaragoza Exhibition, 'Expo Zaragoza 2008', is located in Zaragoza, one of the biggest cities in Spain, close to the river Ebro meander, near the city.
Ideologically, Expo Zaragoza 2008 is a bridge between the Aichi Exhibition 2005, 'Wisdom & Nature', and Shangai 2010, 'Better City, Better Life'. Its lemma is 'Water and Sustainable Development'.
Expo has transformed Zaragoza, improving its environment, regenerating the river area, purifying the water quality of the river. The International Exhibition has given Zaragoza an opportunity to promote itself becoming a more attractive city, exhibiting it as a meeting point, improving the road infrastructure and making good use of its strategic site in a prosperous area, not far from the biggest cities: Madrid, Barcelona or Bilbao.
Expo's second aim is to work as a platform for the Water issue. Experts and personalities from all over the world gather at this international event to dialogue about water and sustainability.
Expo's aim is not only Zaragoza, but the rest of the world.
Zaragoza has chosen 'Water and Sustainable Environment' as its slogan, since it is a key issue that affect all countries in the world, that are confronted due to a global crisis of water. Francisco Pellicer, General Director's AttachŽ of Expo Contents, points out: this crisis has to do mainly with the facts that some countries have more water than others, the percentage of water is very small and water has to be cleansed to be able to drink from it. As a unique resource, there is a need to make rational use of it. The need to share it provides agreements among countries and thus it becomes a resource and opportunity of peace.
"We are creating a breeding ground by which politicians and consumers become conscious of the need of a good management of water. We will make proposals and present solutions of actions that can be fulfilled in other places and become a precedent for international treaties, laws."
Expo explores the new possibilities water offers in relation with energy, agriculture, industry and culture and especially in the field of sustainable development: thinking in future generations, not wasting now the resources that will be needed for the future.
A walk through Expo's site gives us the opportunity to discover more about water and sustainability proposals reflected in the construction techniques of iconic architectural buildings, ephemeral constructions, in the contents of interesting exhibitions and in the metropolitan ecological park.
Once crossed the Bridge Pavilion, the Water Tower Enrique de Teresa, by architect Enrique de Teresa, shows itself. The Water Tower is the emblem of the Expo. The tower's shape expresses, as water, fluidity, movement, transparency and lightness. It has a glass curtain skin shaped as a curved and transparent skyscraper. Its glass and bright steel structure, is designed to represent high technology in relation to water. It is an observatory. Inside, an ascendant ramp works as an exhibition space. The Expo Zaragoza Office Building it is a light and transparent building designed by Basilio Tobias. It has two prismatic volumes. The lower floor and the upper floor contain four plants.
The formation of the continents is the concept behind The Aquarium Pavilion, by architect Alvaro Planchuelo. The building represents the earth and it is designed as a big rock with shapes that symbolize the different continents. An exhibition about the biodiversity of the rivers of the world is hosted inside.' We created a roof with circulating fresh water, that has an isolating function. The water falls over the south and west facades with more solar radiation, refreshing them and producing an exterior micro climate. In the interior, there is energy saving.
The Arag—n Pavilion by architects: Daniel Olano & Alberto Mendo, promotes the culture of Arag—n area, where Zaragoza is located. The building has a shape of a traditional basket from Aragon, made by interlaced panels of glass and micro-concrete with fiber of white glass. The structure is more opaque in the base and it turns more transparent as it gains height. It has been designed with bioclimatic environmental sustainability principles.
The International Pavillions by architects CŽsar Azc‡rate and Raimundo Bamb— (IDOM-ACXT Studio) have designed the biggest Expo building hosting foreign countries. It is a concrete integrated structure crowned by a roof with parks that enable to see the views. Water and Sustainable development inspired the project. The adoption of organic and fluid forms constantly inspired by the flowing of water. The same concept is linked to seeking continuous flowing spaces friendly in the outdoor areas, reminding the natural way water interacts in nature'. The ecological roof saves energy with the installation of solar and photovoltaic panels,
The protection of direct solar radiation was considered. In the roof design architects had in mind the equilibrium between the direct protection of solar radiation during Expo and the natural light for the facades after expo.
The building has two levels with free spaces wide enough to allow the transit of great flow of visitors. In front of The International Pavilion lies the space of the riverfront designed by architects Enric Batlle & Joan Roig. This area has been conceived as a 'garden of water drops', formed by a sequence of circular spaces with different uses: small forests, ponds, an amphitheatre, thematic spaces designed by different authors. Great part of the space between the circles it is covered with a textile pergola that offers red shaded circles. A big grove gives intense shades.
An eco geographical bench designed by Batlle & Roig and Isidro Ferrer, graphic designer, follows the perimeter of the river front. From the bench there are views of the river and the main Expo buildings.
Along the river front there are six thematic pavilions and ephemeral constructions that lodge exhibitions related with water and sustainable development:
"Thirst" by architect Enric Ruiz Geli Cloud 9 Architecture studio is an inflatable volume covered by salt that reflects the sun rays. The molecular structure of salt was used as the basis for constructing the building, reproducing the macroscopic fabric and the organic natural shape of salt. "We projected salt in the facade that deposit in the surface as water evaporates, creating a natural icon, a mountain of salt, integrated into the landscape of water drops as one more natural element." At night it gets lightened as if it kept all the energy needed to keep working. This construction will avoid the use of tropical woods, synthetical varnishes or paintings with dissolvents. New technologies and materials have been applied as glass fibre, or ETFE, an element used in the roof of the building as a substitute for air conditioning. The interior of the Thirst Pavilion contains an exhibition designed by Martin Ruiz de Azua, related with thirst as an impelling force to develop extraordinary techniques.
"Extreme Water", by Urano Films. Designed by Fran Aleu. This architecture expresses different sensations: a peaceful flow of water in the planet's surface and the fear of water as a provocative force of natural catastrophe. The content of the exhibition inside, deepens in the ecological catastrophes and in its prevention, as well as the role of the human being as an agent an victim in the risks of water. It is a sensorial and interactive space that encourages thought and a positive commitment of the human being to water as a risk.
"El Faro" by Ricardo Higueras. Its shape lies on a traditional ceramic vessel. El Faro it is a pavilion composed by straw, clay and certified wood. These materials bring sustainable benefits. El Faro will also use resources of renewable energy: water from Ebro river, solar light, air, relative humidity and geothermic energy.
"Oikos, water and energy". Designed by the musician and engineer: Roland Olbeter. Presents the sustainable house based in transformation and accumulation of energy with cost cero, through hydrogen batteries and different 'green' methods of energy transformation.
"Cities of Water". Designed by Italo Rota Studio. Water is treated as an element that coexists with urban space. Thus, a trip along different cities related somehow with water is proposed. The pavilion proposes an ephemeral architecture that lacks walls and ceilings. The game of transparencies and bright colors of this pavilion are mingled with the vision of the river water, creating a visual spectacle.
"Shared Water". The purpose of this square is to create consciousness about the need of individual and collective responsibility in the correct management of water.
On the other side of the buildings site, stands The Metropolitan Water Park by architects Inaki Alday & Margarita Jover in collaboration with landscaping architect: Christine Dalnoky. The park is a tribute to the farmers that worked these lands and drew an implementation with irrigation channels, micro topographies, dams, and plot divisions. This drawing has been maintained changing its uses and transforming them into a public and accessible space.
We have imagined a park that introduces nature in the city. It is an ecological park.
The park tries not to impose a brutal design, but lets the ground express its own qualities. To create this idea we fabricated a silver palette made of vegetables, water, wood, stones, light, shades and reflections, from which we obtain the park's vocabulary'.
From the city till the river meander, the architects created a progression for each of the park elements: vegetation goes from the artificial to the most natural and wild, from mineral to vegetable. From the entrance to the park till it reaches Ebro river, the water follows from the noisy and agitated water towards the water mirrors of the bathing area. The land is organized from the most urban to the most natural, from flat to rough, from wide to narrow.
Water it is in the park's speech: its capture, storage, purification, use and recycling, form the park's structure.
The Cabecera Building lodges the Central Resource Management of the Park for its control, exploitation, and maintenance, including offices, control rooms, etc. The building is the head office of the Center of the River's Meander Interpretation, that contains an exhibition about nature, botanic and water and energy management.
The D.H. and S.E.T. buildings host the installations related with generation and transformation of energy and use water to generate, storage and distribute energy all over the meander.
The D.H.C building centralizes the production of cold and heat, optimizing the capacity that comes from renewable energies (solar panels for warming and water from the river for cooling). It also cogenerates electricity.
The park will harbor three fluvial beaches and a swimming pool.
The concept and structure of the Bath Pavilion, The Ceremony Pavilion, (for celebrations), and the Wharf is inspired in green-houses. These buildings follow a similar design: a first level made of bamboo, two meshes on the second level, and several volumes inside host the different spaces. Vegetation will grow over the mesh and will cover the building facades in some years time, making the buildings mingle with surrounding nature.