ZARAGOZA, Spain, February 25, 2008 "“ Stunning new architecture and some of the world's renowned artists will welcome visitors to the International Expo in Zaragoza this summer. Kicking off June 15, under the theme: "Water and Sustainable Development," Spain's fifth largest city is expected to draw six million attendees and bring in over $1.2 billion in tourism revenues. More than 100 countries have already signed on, and two weeks ago workers began mounting the exhibition inside the sinuous bridge designed by Zaha Hadid.
Structured around three themed pavilions (the Water Tower "“ "Water for Life", the River Aquarium "“ "Waterscapes" and Hadid's Bridge Pavilion "“ "Water, a Scarce Resource") and six themed squares (Thirst, Cities and Water, Extreme Water, Oikos: Water and Energy, Shared Water and Aquatic Inspirations), the Expo is designed as the starting point for a new sustainable water culture. With the objectives of optimizing resources, minimizing waste and achieving a close-to-zero environmental cost, Expo organizers have planned to cover 100 percent of the event's energy demand using solar panels, wind parks and a hydrogen generation plant. Consumption of fossil fuels will be nonexistent during the Expo, according to officials. A new 300-acre park "“ three times larger than the city's other green spaces "“ will compensate for emissions caused by attendees' arrivals and 'bioconstruction,' and energy-efficient criteria are being applied to all the new buildings.
Some 3,400 shows will entertain visitors during the Expo's three-months with 350 marquis names and companies already signed up including: conductor Daniel Barenboim, soprano Montserrat CaballÃ©, the Carolyn Carson Dance Company and musician Enrique Bunbury. The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, with Zubin Mehta conducting, will perform at the opening. Plays by Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo and Peter Greenway whose work is based on Genesis, will close the show. Each day at 12:30 PM, "Awakening the Serpent," a parade created by Cirque du Soleilâ„¢ will snake through the Expo, and every night from 10 PM till 3 AM, there will be music and artistic performances along the river.
A collection of singular and environmentally-friendly buildings and public spaces designed by an impressive roster of architects has risen beside the EbroRiver and will remain after the Expo ends:
Â¨ The Water Tower "“ Enrique de Teresa Trilla's new visual icon for the city is shaped like a drop of water. Its faÃ§ade of glass curtain walls makes it transparent by day and a shining beacon at night, while inside visitors will experience storms, rainbows and icebergs.
Â¨ Rivers Aquarium "“ Europe's largest freshwater aquarium will contain 5000 specimens representing 300 species and allow visitors to tour the ecosystems of the world's five greatest rivers.
Â¨ Bridge Pavilion "“ Covered in glass fiber concrete and 29,000 triangles of the innovative new sustainable fibreC, the sinuous, light-filled, two-story bridge by Hadid will host an anticipated 10,000 visitors per hour.
Â¨ Pavilion of Spain "“ The black poplar plantations lining the Ebro's banks inspired Patxi Mangado to design this pillared structure that will house an exhibition on bioclimatic architecture.
Â¨ Pavilion of AragÃ³n "“ Symbolizing the region's basket-weaving tradition, Daniel and Alberto Mangado created the exterior of interwoven glass and metal plaits.
Â¨ Digital Water Pavilion "“ A team* from the Zaragoza Digital Mile class at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology initially conceived this interactive structure of digitally-controlled "water curtains" found at the Expo's entrance. Sensors detect approaching visitors and the "walls" (actually closely-spaced solenoid valves that spout water) will open to allow passage. These sensors will also allow images and text to scroll down the "water walls." When the pavilion is closed, the roof will collapse to the ground and the building will disappear.
Â¨ Metropolitan Water Park "“ A 296-acre city park will provide sporting and recreational facilities and include: Los Sotos National Park, a wetlands area, a Botanical Garden and network of lagoons with a white water channel, pools, beaches and children's play areas.
Â¨ Third MillenniumBridge "“ When completed, the bridge (886 feet long and 144 feet wide) spanning the Ebro, will hold the world's record among concrete structures with the longest distance between support points.
One element distinguishing this expo is the Water Tribune, which will be a permanent foundation based in Zaragoza studying the topic of water and sustainable development in the 21st century.
The Expo runs from June 15 through September 15. Available on the web site, one-day tickets cost about $52 (35 euros) and a 3-day ticket is about $104 (70 euros). There are discounts for children and seniors and children under 5 are free. The pavilions will open from 10 AM to 10 PM. (The ticket office will open at 9:15 AM and the site will close at 3 AM.)
For more information, go to www.expozaragoza2008.es and for further
information about Spain, contact the Tourist Office of Spain in New York (212-265-8822); Miami (305-358-1992); Chicago (312-642-1992) or Los Angeles (323-658-7195) or go to www.spain.info