Of all the structures at the Zaragoza 2008 Expo, the Spanish hall best summarised the most interesting topics of development of the international Zaragoza fair. The preciousness of water and research into sustainable development are particularly important factors for this city, situated on the meeting point of three great rivers (the Ebro, Gàllego and Huerva), crossroads for people, trade and culture.

The structure recalls a wood or a bamboo plantation: the trunks are formed of steel columns covered with modular ceramic elements. The water flows down them into the basin at their feet and is partly absorbed by the ends in terracotta to cool the air that is carried by the columns.

One part of the water is then vaporised to keep the lower part of the large arcade cool while another is used in the continuous evaporation process given the searing summer heat.

There are solar panels installed on the roof to produce Energy together with special rainwater tanks.

The visitor walks into a magical land with the light playing through the technological trunks and the musicality of the flowing water creating a kind of sensorial luxury which is a very rare pleasure nowadays.

The structure is formed of a series of points that become pillars above a lake and it seems as if the stands have been dug out of the inside.

The large double and triple height façades seem to almost decompose given the very narrow steel bearing frames that are used and which are virtually invisible. The façades are made with galvanised T-section steel frames for the mullions and transoms. Thanks to the double internal and external seal system, the façade node guarantees a very low heat exchange between inside and out.

Besides being the representative of the Zaragoza expo, perhaps an aim of the hall was not just to create a very fascinating setting but to become a mechanism to trigger off a new way of “thinking”, which is more critical and attentive reconsidering those precious resources which are very much taken for granted but which are definitely not endless.

Marina Cescon

Acciaio Arte Architettura N.35 – September 2008