U.S. Water News Online
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Walking through walls will be possible
and even encouraged.
When next year's world expo opens in Zaragoza, Spain, fairgoers
will encounter a building with walls made of thin sprays of water.
Inside, there will be normal building items -- a cafe, an exhibition
space and overhead lighting.
The water will come from thousands of little jets that can be
switched on and off, rapid-fire, by computer-controlled sensors.
The resulting effect will enable images and text to scroll in the
water walls. Or as a person approaches, the sensors could shape the
water flow to make a door appear anywhere in the wall, and then close
it after the person ambles through.
The 5,400-square-foot building also can vanish in moments, as the
roof can be lowered from its 16-foot height all the way to the
Surely these are cool tricks, but so what?
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology architects who developed
the idea say it's a boundary-pushing artistic statement, in the
tradition of the Crystal Palace and White City of long-ago world's
fairs. Current estimated cost is about $3 million.
"One of the dreams of architecture in recent years has been to
create reconfigurable, interactive, dynamic buildings, but of course
if you do it with bricks it's not so easy," MIT researcher Carlo
Yet this is not purely whimsical. The theme of the Zaragoza fair
is water and sustainable development, and Ratti points out that by
using all recycled water, which in turn provides evaporative cooling
and no need for air conditioning, the building has a low
And even if other buildings aren't about to be made of water (ice
hotels, notwithstanding), Ratti says future structures should adopt
the water pavilion's goal of "total control of every single element,
so nothing gets wasted."
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