Zaragoza isn’t just a lot of fun to say, it’s also the Spanish host town of the world’s largest water festival, Expo Zaragoza, which through September 14 immerses visitors in an astounding number of water-themed events with the help of “Fluvi” (at left), a hydrophilic mascot who looks like a cross between E.T. and a loquacious blue hammer. As part of the festival, Zaragoza has acquired a new architectural landmark, the pedestrian bridge pavilion (pictured above) designed by Zaha Hadid with Patrik Schumacher. Organized around four “pods” that both distribute the bridge’s weight and enclose separate exhibition spaces, Hadid’s Zaragoza Bridge Pavilion is her firm’s first completed bridge project.
While leaders of Expo Zaragoza describe the 853-foot-long and 98-foot-wide bridge as “gladiolus-shaped,” Hadid emphasizes the project’s structural ambition, fluidity, and dynamic nature. The pavilion houses an interactive exhibition “Water, A Unique Resource” designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates, and the structure was created with an eye to the sustainability issues the show and the broader Expo address. “We designed an envelope for the Bridge Pavilion that encloses the exhibition spaces yet can be permeated by natural elements. The internal micro-environment varies with the external climate and requires minimal cooling or heating infrastructure,” says Hadid. “In particular, we considered the local Cierzo wind when designing the Bridge Pavilion’s skin. A variety of openings convey and direct air into the building’s interior—cooling visitors in the heat of the summer.”