EXPO '92 SEVILLE

By Ron Trevelyan

 

Like Stanley Hunter my plans to visit Seville with the Study Group were dashed at the last minute. However, I was fortunate to receive an 11th hour opportunity to go for a brief (3 day) visit at the end of September. By this time most people at Expo 92 were counting the days to the end of the event (12 October) and local Spaniards were flooding in for a final taste of what was on offer. For example, on Saturday 3 October the attendance was 600,000. Despite the brevity of my visit, my appetite to learn more about the event was sharpened.

 

 

Invitation to a formal ceremony for Spanish National Day

at the Spanish Pavilion on 12 October 1992. Speeches included those

by the Spanish Prime Minister, The Director General of Expo '92

and the King of Spain

 

The Seville Expo story really begins in Paris in 1983 when the Bureau International des Expositions (B.I.E.) decided at their 93rd Session on 15 June to award the event to Seville rather than to the other contender, Chicago. Both had chosen the same theme 'The Age of Discovery'. The decision meant that this was the first 'Universal' event to be staged in Europe since Brussels in 1958. Seville fitted the bill well because 1992 was the 500th Anniversary of the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus and the latter began his epic voyage from Seville. The closing date of Expo '92 actually coincided with the day when Columbus discovered the Americas.

Having received the go ahead, the Spanish authorities earmarked a 538 acre site on the island of Cartuja separated from Seville by the Guadalquivir River. The island was named after the 15th Century Carthusian monastery which still exists and, totally refurbished, became the Royal Pavilion during Expo '92. Columbus frequently stayed at the monastery and his remains were buried there for some time. Planning for Expo '92 involved changing the course of the river, raising the level of the island by some 13 feet and the building of seven new bridges and nineteen miles of new roads. Added to this was a new airport terminal and railway station for Seville (with a new fast train service to Madrid), as well as a huge car park 3 miles long to provide parking spaces for up to 40,000 cars and 1,000 buses. A garden city project was commenced in 1985 which transformed a former wasteland on Cartuja by the planting of 25,000 trees and 300,000 shrubs from 5 Continents. All this involved a massive transport and infrastructure investment of 7 billion US dollars and in the process created about 18,000 jobs.

 

Invitation to a reception at the Royal Pavilion on 12 October 1992

 

Expo '92 was opened by King Juan Carlos on 20 April 1992 with a 21 gun salute and the release of 5,000 doves and 110 balloons, one for each participating nation. The Expo '92 planners had to bear in mind the extreme heat of high summer in Seville and to combat this

 

created a microclimate by the use of 'outdoor air conditioning' in trees and a bioclimatic sphere. Thus there were some shady walks with additional cooling from fine sprays of moisture droplets, and numerous fountains had an important psychological effect.

Before the opening there was a good deal of criticism in the press about the last minute nature of much of the construction work, especially on individual pavilions. The media also made much of two fires when the Pavilion of Discovery was irretrievably damaged by fire in February 1992 and the Pacific Islands Pavilion was burnt down by the spark from a welder's torch in April 1992. However, as one of Stanley Hunter's illustrations shows (Newsletter No. 30, page 32) expo fires have occurred before, eg the Brussels 1910 Exposition. The eventual line-up to greet the king was one of 110 nations and up to 23 multinational companies which were housed in 95 separate pavilions.

 

3rd Series 12 April 1988

 

I am afraid that a combination of limited time and long queues at many of the major pavilions meant that, with one or two exceptions, the medium and smaller sized pavilions were my happiest hunting grounds. Nevertheless, an ideal view of the pavilion exteriors could be obtained from a trip on the monorail which circled the whole site. The following interesting features of some of the individual pavilions may be worth recording.

British Pavilion

A steel, glass and canvas structure as large as Westminster Abbey with the front curtained by a moving sheet of water, mainly powered by solar panels. The pavilion won an architectural award in the U.K. and the multi-media show won an industry award. Some disappointment was expressed over the quality of the inside static displays.

French Pavilion

Models of Paris through the ages - on three levels - could be viewed through the floor.

 

Japenese Pavilion

Built entirely of wood, it is said to be the world's largest wooden building.

New Zealand Pavilion

The exterior featured cliffs complete with gannets.

Chilean Pavilion

Constructed of wood and copper, it housed a 60 tonne iceberg shipped from Antartica.

Swiss Pavilion

This featured an 82 feet high tower made entirely of papier-mache.

Indian Pavilion

Formed in the shape and coloured plumage of a spread peacock's tail.

Hungarian Pavilion

Constructed from 20 truck loads of oak and pine brought from Hungary. It resembles a rustic church with bell towers representing various religions. Portrayed in a surrealistic way, the internal theme was Hungary as the crossroads between east and west.

Danish Pavilion

With white sails on wood and surrounded by water, it resembled a boat.

Norwegian Pavilion

A gateway of ice and an enormous pipeline led to the pavilion.

Russian Pavilion

The sloping face of the pavilion was composed of swivelling cubes so that different colour schemes could be achieved. It was noteworthy that the cubes often showed the red, white and blue of the Russian flag, bearing in mind that the pavilion was originally conceived as the Soviet Union Pavilion.

Australian, Canadian and Spanish Pavilions

All had breathtaking cinema shows. Canada and Spain had Imax shows with the Spanish Pavilion having tilting seats to provide appropiate effects. The Australian cinema showed stunning scenery on large screens which ran right round the walls. It transpired that the screens were static whilst the auditorium and audience moved around.

Theme Pavilions

Despite the disaster with the Pavilion of Discovery, a number remained. These included the Pavilions of the Universe, Energy, Telecommunications and the Environment (all in the Plaza of the Future), as well as the Pavilions of Arts, Nature, Navigation and the 15th Century.

Each participating nation had a national day which provided occasions for big displays, parades art and folklore. The British one was held on the 21st May when the Prince and Princess of Wales attended. The Spanish National Day did not take place until the closing day and was marked by a number of ceremonies, receptions etc. it was attended by the Spanish Royal Family, the Spanish Prime Minister etc.

So, after all this was it a success? I have no information on the financial outcome, but despite rival attractions in Spain like the Barcelona Olympics and Madrid being the European Cultural Capital of the year, there were about 41 million visits to Expo '92 (which probably meant 18 to 20 million visitors). As expected a large proportion of the visitors were Andulasian, the event being very popular with them. Soon after the opening about 200,000 six monthly season tickets costing the local equivalent of 170 each had been sold to Spaniards. Those who bought daily tickets for the evening only were able to watch the nightly firework/ laser display which took place at 10 pm.

The impression I formed during my visit, in what was probably just about the busiest period, was of a well laid out exposition with much of interest both outside and inside the pavilions. The use of foliage and the creation of the microclimate was very imaginative and made life much more comfortable walking around. As mentioned above the British Pavilion had some criticism but it remained a popular pavilion throughout, attracting more than 2.1 million visits. My particular interest in Expo '92 stems from the special issue stamps and according to my reckoning around 35 nations commemorated the event in this way.

It is reasonable to ask what future the Seville expo site has after such an enormous financial outlay. It seems that the Spaniards intend to retain at least some of the buildings and to create a theme park there. However, the British Pavilion did not remain. It was the subject of earlier rumours linking it with the London Zoo, but in the event it was purchased by an Asian company in the U.K. who intend to rebuild it in the Park Royal area of Brent. There it will become part of a leisure centre with a number of facilities and serve as the Asian Sky T.V. I was pleased to receive a cutting from the Willesden and Brent Chronicle from a sharp eyed Study Group member at the Annual Convention in September. After seeing my small display on Seville he had noticed an article in his local paper about the future of the pavilion. A photo showed the pavilion which had been shipped from Seville in 107 steel containers, waiting to be constructed. Maybe a parallel can be drawn with the Crystal Palace which also had a new lease of life, our latest pavilion is said to be a modern interpretation of it.

Finally, to end this Seville story, Expo '92 did provide some inspiration for a couple in Derbyshire who bought a former village post office in 1992. They were at a loss to know what to call it, but then had a brilliant idea. By now you have probably guessed what their final choice was . It was "EX PO '92"!

 

End

EXPO '92 SEVILLE

 

By Ron Trevelyan

 

Like Stanley Hunter my plans to visit Seville with the Study Group were dashed at the last minute. However, I was fortunate to receive an 11th hour opportunity to go for a brief (3 day) visit at the end of September. By this time most people at Expo 92 were counting the days to the end of the event (12 October) and local Spaniards were flooding in for a final taste of what was on offer. For example, on Saturday 3 October the attendance was 600,000. Despite the brevity of my visit, my appetite to learn more about the event was sharpened.

 

 

Invitation to a formal ceremony for Spanish National Day

at the Spanish Pavilion on 12 October 1992. Speeches included those

by the Spanish Prime Minister, The Director General of Expo '92

and the King of Spain


 

The Seville Expo story really begins in Paris in 1983 when the Bureau International des Expositions (B.I.E.) decided at their 93rd Session on 15 June to award the event to Seville rather than to the other contender, Chicago. Both had chosen the same theme 'The Age of Discovery'. The decision meant that this was the first 'Universal' event to be staged in Europe since Brussels in 1958. Seville fitted the bill well because 1992 was the 500th Anniversary of the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus and the latter began his epic voyage from Seville. The closing date of Expo '92 actually coincided with the day when Columbus discovered the Americas.

Having received the go ahead, the Spanish authorities earmarked a 538 acre site on the island of Cartuja separated from Seville by the Guadalquivir River. The island was named after the 15th Century Carthusian monastery which still exists and, totally refurbished, became the Royal Pavilion during Expo '92. Columbus frequently stayed at the monastery and his remains were buried there for some time. Planning for Expo '92 involved changing the course of the river, raising the level of the island by some 13 feet and the building of seven new bridges and nineteen miles of new roads. Added to this was a new airport terminal and railway station for Seville (with a new fast train service to Madrid), as well as a huge car park 3 miles long to provide parking spaces for up to 40,000 cars and 1,000 buses. A garden city project was commenced in 1985 which transformed a former wasteland on Cartuja by the planting of 25,000 trees and 300,000 shrubs from 5 Continents. All this involved a massive transport and infrastructure investment of 7 billion US dollars and in the process created about 18,000 jobs.

 

Invitation to a reception at the Royal Pavilion on 12 October 1992

 

Expo '92 was opened by King Juan Carlos on 20 April 1992 with a 21 gun salute and the release of 5,000 doves and 110 balloons, one for each participating nation. The Expo '92 planners had to bear in mind the extreme heat of high summer in Seville and to combat this


 

created a microclimate by the use of 'outdoor air conditioning' in trees and a bioclimatic sphere. Thus there were some shady walks with additional cooling from fine sprays of moisture droplets, and numerous fountains had an important psychological effect.

Before the opening there was a good deal of criticism in the press about the last minute nature of much of the construction work, especially on individual pavilions. The media also made much of two fires when the Pavilion of Discovery was irretrievably damaged by fire in February 1992 and the Pacific Islands Pavilion was burnt down by the spark from a welder's torch in April 1992. However, as one of Stanley Hunter's illustrations shows (Newsletter No. 30, page 32) expo fires have occurred before, eg the Brussels 1910 Exposition. The eventual line-up to greet the king was one of 110 nations and up to 23 multinational companies which were housed in 95 separate pavilions.

 

3rd Series 12 April 1988

 

I am afraid that a combination of limited time and long queues at many of the major pavilions meant that, with one or two exceptions, the medium and smaller sized pavilions were my happiest hunting grounds. Nevertheless, an ideal view of the pavilion exteriors could be obtained from a trip on the monorail which circled the whole site. The following interesting features of some of the individual pavilions may be worth recording.

British Pavilion

A steel, glass and canvas structure as large as Westminster Abbey with the front curtained by a moving sheet of water, mainly powered by solar panels. The pavilion won an architectural award in the U.K. and the multi-media show won an industry award. Some disappointment was expressed over the quality of the inside static displays.

French Pavilion

Models of Paris through the ages - on three levels - could be viewed through the floor.


 

Japenese Pavilion

Built entirely of wood, it is said to be the world's largest wooden building.

New Zealand Pavilion

The exterior featured cliffs complete with gannets.

Chilean Pavilion

Constructed of wood and copper, it housed a 60 tonne iceberg shipped from Antartica.

Swiss Pavilion

This featured an 82 feet high tower made entirely of papier-mache.

Indian Pavilion

Formed in the shape and coloured plumage of a spread peacock's tail.

Hungarian Pavilion

Constructed from 20 truck loads of oak and pine brought from Hungary. It resembles a rustic church with bell towers representing various religions. Portrayed in a surrealistic way, the internal theme was Hungary as the crossroads between east and west.

Danish Pavilion

With white sails on wood and surrounded by water, it resembled a boat.

Norwegian Pavilion

A gateway of ice and an enormous pipeline led to the pavilion.

Russian Pavilion

The sloping face of the pavilion was composed of swivelling cubes so that different colour schemes could be achieved. It was noteworthy that the cubes often showed the red, white and blue of the Russian flag, bearing in mind that the pavilion was originally conceived as the Soviet Union Pavilion.

Australian, Canadian and Spanish Pavilions

All had breathtaking cinema shows. Canada and Spain had Imax shows with the Spanish Pavilion having tilting seats to provide appropiate effects. The Australian cinema showed stunning scenery on large screens which ran right round the walls. It transpired that the screens were static whilst the auditorium and audience moved around.

Theme Pavilions

Despite the disaster with the Pavilion of Discovery, a number remained. These included the Pavilions of the Universe, Energy, Telecommunications and the Environment (all in the Plaza of the Future), as well as the Pavilions of Arts, Nature, Navigation and the 15th Century.

Each participating nation had a national day which provided occasions for big displays, parades art and folklore. The British one was held on the 21st May when the Prince and Princess of Wales attended. The Spanish National Day did not take place until the closing day and was marked by a number of ceremonies, receptions etc. it was attended by the Spanish Royal Family, the Spanish Prime Minister etc.

So, after all this was it a success? I have no information on the financial outcome, but despite rival attractions in Spain like the Barcelona Olympics and Madrid being the European Cultural Capital of the year, there were about 41 million visits to Expo '92 (which probably meant 18 to 20 million visitors). As expected a large proportion of the visitors were Andulasian, the event being very popular with them. Soon after the opening about 200,000 six monthly season tickets costing the local equivalent of £170 each had been sold to Spaniards. Those who bought daily tickets for the evening only were able to watch the nightly firework/ laser display which took place at 10 pm.

The impression I formed during my visit, in what was probably just about the busiest period, was of a well laid out exposition with much of interest both outside and inside the pavilions. The use of foliage and the creation of the microclimate was very imaginative and


 

made life much more comfortable walking around. As mentioned above the British Pavilion had some criticism but it remained a popular pavilion throughout, attracting more than 2.1 million visits. My particular interest in Expo '92 stems from the special issue stamps and according to my reckoning around 35 nations commemorated the event in this way.

It is reasonable to ask what future the Seville expo site has after such an enormous financial outlay. It seems that the Spaniards intend to retain at least some of the buildings and to create a theme park there. However, the British Pavilion did not remain. It was the subject of earlier rumours linking it with the London Zoo, but in the event it was purchased by an Asian company in the U.K. who intend to rebuild it in the Park Royal area of Brent. There it will become part of a leisure centre with a number of facilities and serve as the Asian Sky T.V. I was pleased to receive a cutting from the Willesden and Brent Chronicle from a sharp eyed Study Group member at the Annual Convention in September. After seeing my small display on Seville he had noticed an article in his local paper about the future of the pavilion. A photo showed the pavilion which had been shipped from Seville in 107 steel containers, waiting to be constructed. Maybe a parallel can be drawn with the Crystal Palace which also had a new lease of life, our latest pavilion is said to be a modern interpretation of it.

Finally, to end this Seville story, Expo '92 did provide some inspiration for a couple in Derbyshire who bought a former village post office in 1992. They were at a loss to know what to call it, but then had a brilliant idea. By now you have probably guessed what their final choice was . It was "EX PO '92"!

 

End

EXPO '92 SEVILLE

 

By Ron Trevelyan

 

Like Stanley Hunter my plans to visit Seville with the Study Group were dashed at the last minute. However, I was fortunate to receive an 11th hour opportunity to go for a brief (3 day) visit at the end of September. By this time most people at Expo 92 were counting the days to the end of the event (12 October) and local Spaniards were flooding in for a final taste of what was on offer. For example, on Saturday 3 October the attendance was 600,000. Despite the brevity of my visit, my appetite to learn more about the event was sharpened.

 

 

Invitation to a formal ceremony for Spanish National Day

at the Spanish Pavilion on 12 October 1992. Speeches included those

by the Spanish Prime Minister, The Director General of Expo '92

and the King of Spain


 

The Seville Expo story really begins in Paris in 1983 when the Bureau International des Expositions (B.I.E.) decided at their 93rd Session on 15 June to award the event to Seville rather than to the other contender, Chicago. Both had chosen the same theme 'The Age of Discovery'. The decision meant that this was the first 'Universal' event to be staged in Europe since Brussels in 1958. Seville fitted the bill well because 1992 was the 500th Anniversary of the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus and the latter began his epic voyage from Seville. The closing date of Expo '92 actually coincided with the day when Columbus discovered the Americas.

Having received the go ahead, the Spanish authorities earmarked a 538 acre site on the island of Cartuja separated from Seville by the Guadalquivir River. The island was named after the 15th Century Carthusian monastery which still exists and, totally refurbished, became the Royal Pavilion during Expo '92. Columbus frequently stayed at the monastery and his remains were buried there for some time. Planning for Expo '92 involved changing the course of the river, raising the level of the island by some 13 feet and the building of seven new bridges and nineteen miles of new roads. Added to this was a new airport terminal and railway station for Seville (with a new fast train service to Madrid), as well as a huge car park 3 miles long to provide parking spaces for up to 40,000 cars and 1,000 buses. A garden city project was commenced in 1985 which transformed a former wasteland on Cartuja by the planting of 25,000 trees and 300,000 shrubs from 5 Continents. All this involved a massive transport and infrastructure investment of 7 billion US dollars and in the process created about 18,000 jobs.

 

Invitation to a reception at the Royal Pavilion on 12 October 1992

 

Expo '92 was opened by King Juan Carlos on 20 April 1992 with a 21 gun salute and the release of 5,000 doves and 110 balloons, one for each participating nation. The Expo '92 planners had to bear in mind the extreme heat of high summer in Seville and to combat this


 

created a microclimate by the use of 'outdoor air conditioning' in trees and a bioclimatic sphere. Thus there were some shady walks with additional cooling from fine sprays of moisture droplets, and numerous fountains had an important psychological effect.

Before the opening there was a good deal of criticism in the press about the last minute nature of much of the construction work, especially on individual pavilions. The media also made much of two fires when the Pavilion of Discovery was irretrievably damaged by fire in February 1992 and the Pacific Islands Pavilion was burnt down by the spark from a welder's torch in April 1992. However, as one of Stanley Hunter's illustrations shows (Newsletter No. 30, page 32) expo fires have occurred before, eg the Brussels 1910 Exposition. The eventual line-up to greet the king was one of 110 nations and up to 23 multinational companies which were housed in 95 separate pavilions.

 

3rd Series 12 April 1988

 

I am afraid that a combination of limited time and long queues at many of the major pavilions meant that, with one or two exceptions, the medium and smaller sized pavilions were my happiest hunting grounds. Nevertheless, an ideal view of the pavilion exteriors could be obtained from a trip on the monorail which circled the whole site. The following interesting features of some of the individual pavilions may be worth recording.

British Pavilion

A steel, glass and canvas structure as large as Westminster Abbey with the front curtained by a moving sheet of water, mainly powered by solar panels. The pavilion won an architectural award in the U.K. and the multi-media show won an industry award. Some disappointment was expressed over the quality of the inside static displays.

French Pavilion

Models of Paris through the ages - on three levels - could be viewed through the floor.


 

Japenese Pavilion

Built entirely of wood, it is said to be the world's largest wooden building.

New Zealand Pavilion

The exterior featured cliffs complete with gannets.

Chilean Pavilion

Constructed of wood and copper, it housed a 60 tonne iceberg shipped from Antartica.

Swiss Pavilion

This featured an 82 feet high tower made entirely of papier-mache.

Indian Pavilion

Formed in the shape and coloured plumage of a spread peacock's tail.

Hungarian Pavilion

Constructed from 20 truck loads of oak and pine brought from Hungary. It resembles a rustic church with bell towers representing various religions. Portrayed in a surrealistic way, the internal theme was Hungary as the crossroads between east and west.

Danish Pavilion

With white sails on wood and surrounded by water, it resembled a boat.

Norwegian Pavilion

A gateway of ice and an enormous pipeline led to the pavilion.

Russian Pavilion

The sloping face of the pavilion was composed of swivelling cubes so that different colour schemes could be achieved. It was noteworthy that the cubes often showed the red, white and blue of the Russian flag, bearing in mind that the pavilion was originally conceived as the Soviet Union Pavilion.

Australian, Canadian and Spanish Pavilions

All had breathtaking cinema shows. Canada and Spain had Imax shows with the Spanish Pavilion having tilting seats to provide appropiate effects. The Australian cinema showed stunning scenery on large screens which ran right round the walls. It transpired that the screens were static whilst the auditorium and audience moved around.

Theme Pavilions

Despite the disaster with the Pavilion of Discovery, a number remained. These included the Pavilions of the Universe, Energy, Telecommunications and the Environment (all in the Plaza of the Future), as well as the Pavilions of Arts, Nature, Navigation and the 15th Century.

Each participating nation had a national day which provided occasions for big displays, parades art and folklore. The British one was held on the 21st May when the Prince and Princess of Wales attended. The Spanish National Day did not take place until the closing day and was marked by a number of ceremonies, receptions etc. it was attended by the Spanish Royal Family, the Spanish Prime Minister etc.

So, after all this was it a success? I have no information on the financial outcome, but despite rival attractions in Spain like the Barcelona Olympics and Madrid being the European Cultural Capital of the year, there were about 41 million visits to Expo '92 (which probably meant 18 to 20 million visitors). As expected a large proportion of the visitors were Andulasian, the event being very popular with them. Soon after the opening about 200,000 six monthly season tickets costing the local equivalent of £170 each had been sold to Spaniards. Those who bought daily tickets for the evening only were able to watch the nightly firework/ laser display which took place at 10 pm.

The impression I formed during my visit, in what was probably just about the busiest period, was of a well laid out exposition with much of interest both outside and inside the pavilions. The use of foliage and the creation of the microclimate was very imaginative and


 

made life much more comfortable walking around. As mentioned above the British Pavilion had some criticism but it remained a popular pavilion throughout, attracting more than 2.1 million visits. My particular interest in Expo '92 stems from the special issue stamps and according to my reckoning around 35 nations commemorated the event in this way.

It is reasonable to ask what future the Seville expo site has after such an enormous financial outlay. It seems that the Spaniards intend to retain at least some of the buildings and to create a theme park there. However, the British Pavilion did not remain. It was the subject of earlier rumours linking it with the London Zoo, but in the event it was purchased by an Asian company in the U.K. who intend to rebuild it in the Park Royal area of Brent. There it will become part of a leisure centre with a number of facilities and serve as the Asian Sky T.V. I was pleased to receive a cutting from the Willesden and Brent Chronicle from a sharp eyed Study Group member at the Annual Convention in September. After seeing my small display on Seville he had noticed an article in his local paper about the future of the pavilion. A photo showed the pavilion which had been shipped from Seville in 107 steel containers, waiting to be constructed. Maybe a parallel can be drawn with the Crystal Palace which also had a new lease of life, our latest pavilion is said to be a modern interpretation of it.

Finally, to end this Seville story, Expo '92 did provide some inspiration for a couple in Derbyshire who bought a former village post office in 1992. They were at a loss to know what to call it, but then had a brilliant idea. By now you have probably guessed what their final choice was . It was "EX PO '92"!

End

EXPO '92 SEVILLE

 

By Ron Trevelyan

 

Like Stanley Hunter my plans to visit Seville with the Study Group were dashed at the last minute. However, I was fortunate to receive an 11th hour opportunity to go for a brief (3 day) visit at the end of September. By this time most people at Expo 92 were counting the days to the end of the event (12 October) and local Spaniards were flooding in for a final taste of what was on offer. For example, on Saturday 3 October the attendance was 600,000. Despite the brevity of my visit, my appetite to learn more about the event was sharpened.

 

 

Invitation to a formal ceremony for Spanish National Day

at the Spanish Pavilion on 12 October 1992. Speeches included those

by the Spanish Prime Minister, The Director General of Expo '92

and the King of Spain


 

The Seville Expo story really begins in Paris in 1983 when the Bureau International des Expositions (B.I.E.) decided at their 93rd Session on 15 June to award the event to Seville rather than to the other contender, Chicago. Both had chosen the same theme 'The Age of Discovery'. The decision meant that this was the first 'Universal' event to be staged in Europe since Brussels in 1958. Seville fitted the bill well because 1992 was the 500th Anniversary of the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus and the latter began his epic voyage from Seville. The closing date of Expo '92 actually coincided with the day when Columbus discovered the Americas.

Having received the go ahead, the Spanish authorities earmarked a 538 acre site on the island of Cartuja separated from Seville by the Guadalquivir River. The island was named after the 15th Century Carthusian monastery which still exists and, totally refurbished, became the Royal Pavilion during Expo '92. Columbus frequently stayed at the monastery and his remains were buried there for some time. Planning for Expo '92 involved changing the course of the river, raising the level of the island by some 13 feet and the building of seven new bridges and nineteen miles of new roads. Added to this was a new airport terminal and railway station for Seville (with a new fast train service to Madrid), as well as a huge car park 3 miles long to provide parking spaces for up to 40,000 cars and 1,000 buses. A garden city project was commenced in 1985 which transformed a former wasteland on Cartuja by the planting of 25,000 trees and 300,000 shrubs from 5 Continents. All this involved a massive transport and infrastructure investment of 7 billion US dollars and in the process created about 18,000 jobs.

 

Invitation to a reception at the Royal Pavilion on 12 October 1992

 

Expo '92 was opened by King Juan Carlos on 20 April 1992 with a 21 gun salute and the release of 5,000 doves and 110 balloons, one for each participating nation. The Expo '92 planners had to bear in mind the extreme heat of high summer in Seville and to combat this


 

created a microclimate by the use of 'outdoor air conditioning' in trees and a bioclimatic sphere. Thus there were some shady walks with additional cooling from fine sprays of moisture droplets, and numerous fountains had an important psychological effect.

Before the opening there was a good deal of criticism in the press about the last minute nature of much of the construction work, especially on individual pavilions. The media also made much of two fires when the Pavilion of Discovery was irretrievably damaged by fire in February 1992 and the Pacific Islands Pavilion was burnt down by the spark from a welder's torch in April 1992. However, as one of Stanley Hunter's illustrations shows (Newsletter No. 30, page 32) expo fires have occurred before, eg the Brussels 1910 Exposition. The eventual line-up to greet the king was one of 110 nations and up to 23 multinational companies which were housed in 95 separate pavilions.

 

3rd Series 12 April 1988

 

I am afraid that a combination of limited time and long queues at many of the major pavilions meant that, with one or two exceptions, the medium and smaller sized pavilions were my happiest hunting grounds. Nevertheless, an ideal view of the pavilion exteriors could be obtained from a trip on the monorail which circled the whole site. The following interesting features of some of the individual pavilions may be worth recording.

British Pavilion

A steel, glass and canvas structure as large as Westminster Abbey with the front curtained by a moving sheet of water, mainly powered by solar panels. The pavilion won an architectural award in the U.K. and the multi-media show won an industry award. Some disappointment was expressed over the quality of the inside static displays.

French Pavilion

Models of Paris through the ages - on three levels - could be viewed through the floor.


 

Japenese Pavilion

Built entirely of wood, it is said to be the world's largest wooden building.

New Zealand Pavilion

The exterior featured cliffs complete with gannets.

Chilean Pavilion

Constructed of wood and copper, it housed a 60 tonne iceberg shipped from Antartica.

Swiss Pavilion

This featured an 82 feet high tower made entirely of papier-mache.

Indian Pavilion

Formed in the shape and coloured plumage of a spread peacock's tail.

Hungarian Pavilion

Constructed from 20 truck loads of oak and pine brought from Hungary. It resembles a rustic church with bell towers representing various religions. Portrayed in a surrealistic way, the internal theme was Hungary as the crossroads between east and west.

Danish Pavilion

With white sails on wood and surrounded by water, it resembled a boat.

Norwegian Pavilion

A gateway of ice and an enormous pipeline led to the pavilion.

Russian Pavilion

The sloping face of the pavilion was composed of swivelling cubes so that different colour schemes could be achieved. It was noteworthy that the cubes often showed the red, white and blue of the Russian flag, bearing in mind that the pavilion was originally conceived as the Soviet Union Pavilion.

Australian, Canadian and Spanish Pavilions

All had breathtaking cinema shows. Canada and Spain had Imax shows with the Spanish Pavilion having tilting seats to provide appropiate effects. The Australian cinema showed stunning scenery on large screens which ran right round the walls. It transpired that the screens were static whilst the auditorium and audience moved around.

Theme Pavilions

Despite the disaster with the Pavilion of Discovery, a number remained. These included the Pavilions of the Universe, Energy, Telecommunications and the Environment (all in the Plaza of the Future), as well as the Pavilions of Arts, Nature, Navigation and the 15th Century.

Each participating nation had a national day which provided occasions for big displays, parades art and folklore. The British one was held on the 21st May when the Prince and Princess of Wales attended. The Spanish National Day did not take place until the closing day and was marked by a number of ceremonies, receptions etc. it was attended by the Spanish Royal Family, the Spanish Prime Minister etc.

So, after all this was it a success? I have no information on the financial outcome, but despite rival attractions in Spain like the Barcelona Olympics and Madrid being the European Cultural Capital of the year, there were about 41 million visits to Expo '92 (which probably meant 18 to 20 million visitors). As expected a large proportion of the visitors were Andulasian, the event being very popular with them. Soon after the opening about 200,000 six monthly season tickets costing the local equivalent of £170 each had been sold to Spaniards. Those who bought daily tickets for the evening only were able to watch the nightly firework/ laser display which took place at 10 pm.

The impression I formed during my visit, in what was probably just about the busiest period, was of a well laid out exposition with much of interest both outside and inside the pavilions. The use of foliage and the creation of the microclimate was very imaginative and


 

made life much more comfortable walking around. As mentioned above the British Pavilion had some criticism but it remained a popular pavilion throughout, attracting more than 2.1 million visits. My particular interest in Expo '92 stems from the special issue stamps and according to my reckoning around 35 nations commemorated the event in this way.

It is reasonable to ask what future the Seville expo site has after such an enormous financial outlay. It seems that the Spaniards intend to retain at least some of the buildings and to create a theme park there. However, the British Pavilion did not remain. It was the subject of earlier rumours linking it with the London Zoo, but in the event it was purchased by an Asian company in the U.K. who intend to rebuild it in the Park Royal area of Brent. There it will become part of a leisure centre with a number of facilities and serve as the Asian Sky T.V. I was pleased to receive a cutting from the Willesden and Brent Chronicle from a sharp eyed Study Group member at the Annual Convention in September. After seeing my small display on Seville he had noticed an article in his local paper about the future of the pavilion. A photo showed the pavilion which had been shipped from Seville in 107 steel containers, waiting to be constructed. Maybe a parallel can be drawn with the Crystal Palace which also had a new lease of life, our latest pavilion is said to be a modern interpretation of it.

Finally, to end this Seville story, Expo '92 did provide some inspiration for a couple in Derbyshire who bought a former village post office in 1992. They were at a loss to know what to call it, but then had a brilliant idea. By now you have probably guessed what their final choice was . It was "EX PO '92"!

End

               © Exhibition Study Group1994


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