Zaragoza Bridge Pavilion
Zaha Hadid Architects
The building's envelope plays an essential role in defining its relation to the surrounding environment and atmospheric variations.
The Zaragoza Bridge Pavilion is an interactive exhibition area
focusing on water sustainability, integrating a pedestrian bridge
to perform as gateway for the Zaragoza Expo 2008.
The Bridge Pavilion is organized around 4 main elements, or "pods", that perform both as structural elements and as spatial enclosures, where each "pod" corresponds to a specific exhibition space.
These pods intersect and brace each other, allowing the weight
of the bridge to be distributed across the four trusses instead of
a singular main element.
The body of the building evolves from the extrusion of a diamond-shaped section along a slightly curved path, projected diagonally across the shores of the Ebro River. Its dynamic shape is enveloped by a distinctive shark-scale skin, a permeable membrane that generates an internal microclimate based on the natural airflow. The concrete belly of the articulated volume partially rests on a small island in the middle of the river, reinforcing the hybrid, lifelike nature of its curvilinear volumes.
Located above the main flood level, the Bridge Pavilion connects with each river bank via a smooth inclined terrain. Each pod is located on the same level, except one which is 1.5 meters above this main level and intersects with its adjacent pods.
All pods are stacked according to precise criteria - aimed at reducing the Bridge Pavilion's section as much as possible where the span is longer, and enlarging the section where the span is shorter. One long pod spans from the right riverbank to the island, where the other three are grafted into it, spanning from island to left bank.
This interlocking of the pods has given the design many exciting possibilities. Interiors become complex spaces, where visitors move from pod to pod through small in-between spaces that act as filters - or buffer zones. These zones diffuse the sound and visual experience from one exhibition space to the next, allowing for a clearer understanding of the content within each pod. The identity of each pod remains evident inside the pavilion, almost performing as a three-dimensional orientation device.
Each zone within the building has its own spatial identity. Their nature varies from completely enclosed interior spaces that focus on the exhibition, to open spaces with strong visual connections to the Ebro River and the Expo.
The envelope of the Bridge Pavilion encloses the exhibition spaces yet can be permeated by natural elements. The Bridge Pavilion's internal micro-environment varies with the external climate and requires minimal cooling or heating infrastructure. A variety of openings convey and direct air into the building's interior - cooling visitors in the heat of the summer.
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. In particular, we considered the local Cierzo wind when designing the skin. A variety of openings convey and direct air into the building's interior - cooling visitors in the heat of the summer./Zaha Hadid
The design merges two traditionally distinct and separate
building typologies: the "infrastructure" element (the bridge) and
an "architectural" element (the pavilion). With the Bridge Pavilion
design, Zaha Hadid Architects has challenged the conventional idea
of a bridge being purely engineering.
Facts about Zaragoza Bridge Pavilion
Total floor area:
Exhibition surface area: 3,915 m2
Pedestrian Bridge surface: 2,500 m2
Length: 270 m
Zaha Hadid with Patrik Schumacher
Manuela Gatto (Associate)
Maria Jose Mendoza
Expoagua Zaragoza 2008
Photographed by Fernando Guerra / FG+SG
Last updated: December 19, 2013
Siza, Souto de Moura, Moneo, Calatrava and Barraga,
Claremont, California, USA