Zaragoza River Aquarium, one of the three thematic pavilions of Expo Zaragoza 2008, is the largest in Europe and one of the largest in the world. It has 8,000 m2 of which 3,400 m2 are expository. In its 60 tanks are housed over 1,200 animals of over 120 species of river fauna characteristic of each of the five rivers represented: Nile, Mekong, Amazon, Murray-Darling and the Ebro.
The monumental waterfalls pouring from the facades of 15 m in height are the biggest made in a building. All water engineering for these impressive waterfalls was made by Lumiartecnia Internacional.
The building was designed by the architectural firm Alvaro Planchuelo, winner of the ideas contest released by Expo Zaragoza 2008 for this great project. The design of the aquariums was made by Coutant Aquariums and the building construction was carried out by Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas.
The building has an area of 7850 m² consisting of a central space that simulates the origin of life on five continents, the first river, which results in five representative areas of each zone on the earth. This space forms the world’s largest river tank. It has a height of 9 meters, a length of 40 m and a width varying between 4 and 8 m. There are 50 different tanks for the 5 rivers species representing the 5 zones of the world.
The pavilion has an entrance hall, a shop, a projection room, the permanent exhibition Rivers of the World, a temporary exhibition hall, a library and research center, a rooftop café with panoramic terrace, offices and general services and life support facilities.
On the building facade eight monumental waterfalls pour simulating rock cliffs.
The engineering project has been developed by Lumiartecnia Internacional and helped convince the members of the international exposition that it was possible to integrate large waterfalls on the facade of this building, despite its great height and being Zaragoza city very exposed to strong winds. We demonstrated that such torrential waterfalls could be continuous throughout its full length and because its large flow, the wind would not be any problem with an appropriate weir design and of the pond below where the water falls.
The original weir design allows obtaining different types of waterfalls, more turbulent or more laminar, showing the different looks that may have a natural waterfall.
The building has different bodies where the central space represents the glaciers that are the source of any river, real reservoirs that feed water to defrost, the large freshwater tank inside crossing from side to side symbolizes the primordial water, the “Great River World”. The volumes that make up the exhibition space are the different parts of the earth, fertilized by rivers, germinating in a statement of diversity.
The central tank, with 9 meters deep, more than 45 meters long and between 8 and 9 meters wide, is the largest freshwater aquarium in the world. On each side are arranged quadrangular rooms hosting the exhibition spaces dedicated to the Nile, Mekong, Amazon, Murray-Darling and the Ebro. Three of them (Nile, Mekong and Murray-Darling) use one floor as exhibiting space while the other two occupy two floors of the building.
The purpose of the pavilion is to educate, investigate and make widely known the river ecosystems through a natural path through five great rivers of the planet. A journey through the galleries themed by different sections of the river (aquariums or aquariums, terrariums) accompanied by sounds that evoke the different habitats and they represented a broad representation of its fauna.
Monumental waterfalls in River Aquarium videos:
For more information about the River Aquarium: