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Bridge pavilion at Expo 2008

The Bridge Pavilion opened this week as part of Expo 2008 in Zaragoza, Spain.

The pavilion is an Arup designed pedestrian bridge and the main entrance to the Expo site. The bridge is also one of the event’s main exhibition spaces.

The bridge is over 260m in length and is composed of irregular trussed arches. It crosses the river Ebro in two curving spans leading visitors into the main exhibition area.

"The process for the Bridge Pavilion was very different to a traditional bridge design," explained Paul Nuttall, Arup’s project director.

"In essence we had to design a building and a shape but we also had to make it work as a bridge. The concept design [by Zaha Hadid] was a very complex shape and we had to turn it into something buildable without diluting the original vision."

One of the key features of the engineering design lies in the project’s foundations. The geotechnical analysis for the bridge required the some of the bridge’s 22 piles to be drilled to a depth of 72.5 metres in depth, making them the deepest piles in Spain.

The exhibition taking place within the Pavilion Bridge is titled ‘Water, a Unique Resource’, and is focused on sustainable water management.

Before reaching the Bridge Pavilion visitors to the Expo will encounter another Arup designed building, the Digital Water Pavilion. The facade of the Digital Water Pavilion is formed of water and the roof is a 400 mm thick moveable structure designed by Arup. The roof rests on moveable pistons and can change height from 4 metres down to 2.5m and in the case of strong winds can also be reduced to ground level at which point the whole building disappears.

The Expo 2008 runs from 14 June to 14 September 2008.

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