The Thirst Pavilion directed by Pietro Laureano for the universal exposition of Zaragoza on water is the most visited in its category
Great success of the public of the Universal Exposition of Zaragoza, whose theme is the water underway from June to September 2008. The exhibition is formed by spectacular architecture including the Kalavatra Water Museum Bridge and the Water Tower and from ten thematic pavilions. The thematic pavilion of the Sete whose scientific direction was entrusted to the architect Pietro Laureano with 140,000 presences in the first week of opening. It is the only thematic pavilion to be among the top ten most visited installations.
Here are excerpts of his presentation of the pavilion made by Pietro Laureano:
The thirst pavilion has the shape of a mountain of salt that reflects the sun’s rays making it resemble a mirage in the desert. Inside it is a machine built with an ancient and advanced technology. Cave water collection systems are reconstructed, underground tunnel water production techniques called drainage tunnels and air wells are reconstructed. The visitor understands that it is possible to obtain drinkable water from the sky and from the underground. That the need for drinking water has allowed us to develop extraordinary techniques, culture and knowledge. But is all this the past? Are we visiting an archaeological museum of missing techniques? No. Continuing along the path, the visitor discovers he is traveling inside an elaborate technological-environmental device that, in flight in the cosmos, uses the paleotechnic for recycling, water production and sustainability. It is a spaceship – greenhouse; a space station – ecosystem; an ark guardian of water wisdom; a drop of water traveling through the universe; a planet – garden. Even our planet Earth is a spaceship on its way to the cosmos. The visitor at the exit can be informed of the kilometers traveled during his presence in the pavilion and the amount of water displaced contained in his own body. The metaphoric pavilion of thirst hides inside a mystery. A journey through water techniques, cultures and knowledge will turn the current ideas on thirst upside down.
The exhibition allows the visitor to understand what thirst is by answering the questions: Who is thirsty ?; What happens because of thirst? How do we treat thirst? What is thirst? This last question is answered by providing a new vision of thirst. Thirst is necessary: a problem is a resource: an impulse to travel and knowledge.
Thirst is an irremediable need, a sense of extreme dissatisfaction, a desire that leads to action and knowledge: it is the engine of cultural and environmental transformations. Living organisms and the environment manifest thirst as an urgent need and with signs of dissatisfaction and degradation. The skin is for man what the landscape is for the ecosystem. If the body is thirsty the skin dries up, becomes dehydrated. Thus the soil without water splits and degrades. But the landscape of thirst is not that of the desert is that of desertification. Desert and desertification are two different things. The desert has a precise ecological balance established over time in specific climatic situations. Its landscape is healthy with an aesthetic value, with laws, components, biological and cultural activities adapted to respond appropriately to the thirst of plants, animals and men. Desertification is caused by the pressure and the bad intervention of human beings and can occur in any climate and situation, causing conditions of imbalance with degraded soils and places absolutely without harmony. Desertification is the lack of satisfaction of the thirst of the ecosystem. Thus organisms disappear, humans and even plants migrate. Without water you have to go to another place or find ways to get it. Thirst is an impulse, a call to which we must respond. Thirst is at the origin of two fundamental phenomena directly connected: movement and civilization.
Thirst has driven humanity to discovery, knowledge and innovation. Our body’s need for water and ecosystems is a resource because it is a stimulus for further progress. The water crisis caused by global warming and climate extremism will be a stimulus to change the economic model, to the birth of a new paradigm based on a pact between humanity and the environment, to the development of sustainable technology. Thirst is the manifestation of fundamental principles, still unknown, of the Universe. The inextinguishable need for continuous fusion with the water cycle, the planetary and the cosmic. Thirst is need and desire, it is part of our nature, from distant origins to future destinies. Thirst accompanies the perennial journey of discovery of humanity: from the cave, to the space station and beyond, towards the infinite.