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Zaha Hadid pavilion uses Austrian "fibre C" cladding 

2. September 2008

British star architect Zaha Hadid used glass fibre concrete by Austrian company Rieder to cover the 275m long Zaragoza Bridge Pavilion. The outer skin of the multi-levelled pedestrian bridge across the river Ebro is enveloped with 29,000 triangular tiles in various shades of grey made from fibreC, an innovative and sustainable Austrian building material.

From 14 June to 13 September 2008 Zaragoza, in the northern Spain, will host the next international EXPO. More than seven and a half million people are expected to visit.

The shining main pavilion, which is both a bridge over the river Ebro and a multi-level exhibition area, was designed by sought-after British architect Zaha Hadid together with Ove Arup Engineers.

The Pavilion consists of an inhabited multi-level bridge that spans the Ebro River, linking the city to the EXPO site. Apart from its function as a pedestrian access to the EXPO, the 275m Zaragoza Bridge has a combined exhibition area of 7000m². Inside the bridge, people can visit three exhibitions relating to the themes of water and sustainability.


Furthermore the bridge is symbolic, as the Expo theme “Water and Sustainable development” has been translated into the design und the material of the construction.

The pavilion bridge is slightly curved and its gently flowing form is based on the natural conditions of water. The new Zaragoza Bridge Pavilion will be composed of four elements, which overlap each other like petals and form a diamond in the cross section. Inspired by the variety of nature, the main pavilion spans the Ebro River and opens up like a gladiola blossom.


For the envelope of the pavilion, Zaha Hadid chose triangular panels made of glass fibre reinforced concrete – fibreC – by the Austrian company, Rieder. A sophisticated pattern made from 29,000 elements in different grey shades causes an effect like shiny fish scales and shimmers in the sunshine. Due to its dimensional effect, the fibreC triangles imbue the outer skin of the pavilion with life, reflecting the glittering and varied facets of the water.


Apart from its design and visual impact, Zaha Hadid’s design also saw off competition from over 40 entrants owing to the sustainability of the materials used, such as fibreC. “The composition of fibreC out of degradable, purely mineral raw materials entirely complies with the current trend of natural, environmentally-friendly and sustainable materials“, says CEO Wolfgang Rieder.

FibreC enables creative freedom in terms of mould ability, colour and processing. “Today, fibreC meets architectural challenges, which only a few years ago would have ruled out concrete", Rieder says. “The example of the Zaragoza Bridge shows that 29,000 different triangular forms with accurately defined radiates can be manufactured industrially. With this technical precision and the logistic complexity Rieder has broken new ground in the world of concrete production".