The Thirst Pavilion: Using Innovative Architecture and Solutions To Combat Global Water Issues

Expo Zaragoza 2008 illustration

At Expo Zaragoza in Spain, the International Expo about "Water and Sustainable Development" that opened in June and attracted over 70.000 visitors last saturday, one of the best exhibits was the Pavilion THIRST. With strong images and simple graphics, this Pavilion first explained who in the world has thirst, concluding that "Everything is thirsty." But rather than dwelling on the problems, this pavilion showed some innovative design solutions used all over the world to improve how humans our dealing with water issues, whether they be health- or drought-related. More about the architecture and images of the pavilion after the jump.

Expo Zaragoza Thirst Pavilion Dome photo

Image credit: Sergio Carratalá

From the outside, the Thirst Pavilion, situated in the middle of the Expo ground, looks like a bubble with mirrors on the façade. Designed by architect Enric Ruiz Geli, Cloud9 and designer Martin Azua, the Igloo represents a mountain of salt inspired by the structure of the salt molecules. The inflated, transparent bubbles represent the water drops on top of the salt mountain. The whole structure is screwed and knotted together in order to be able to be moved or recycle after the Expo. The main material is ETFE, the same fluorocarbon-based polymer the Eden Project domes are made of. The dome measures 36.7 metres in diameter and 10 meters high, creating an exhibition area of 820m2 to accommodate some 75 people every 5 minutes.

Once inside, we were shown images of people, plants and whole eco systems being thirsty to explain the current problems related to the lack of water. We learned that it is possible to get drinking water from the sky and the subsoil, and how the need for drinking water has allowed hydraulic techniques, culture and knowledge to be developed.

Expo Zaragoza 2008 Project Thirst illustration

We liked that this pavilion did not focus on the negative connotations but chose to show the positive actions that have been developed out of the need for water. Examples of how "thirst is converted into a symbol of Mankind's capacity for progress using the experience accumulated" is for example the Lifestraw which formed part of the exhibition. Others are a hydroponics cultivation system, the Watercone, the Bamboo Treadle Pump, subsoil irrigation and tarps to collect water to only name a few.

We liked the mix of audiovisual projections, light and sound and simple animations with which Thirst is illustrated. You can visit the world exhibition in Zaragoza until September 14th. ::Thirst Pavilion at Expo Zaragoza ::Thirst Project
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