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Abengoa at Expo 92


Expo 92 was a milestone achievement, not only for Seville, but also for the companies and organizations that, in one way or another, were involved in this great event. Abengoa was there, of course.


The 92 World Exhibition was held in Seville (Spain), and the challenges it posed to a number of Sevillian companies as it was being set up and then held, contributed to the their growth, as it can be said to have planted the initial seed to what they have grown into today, 25 years later.

Abengoa was one of these companies. It actively participated in the design and construction period of the exhibition with a wide range of projects and activities, thereby helping the event to succeed. Reciprocally, the World Exhibition and the challenges that were taken on board promoted the company’s growth.

At Expo 92, Abengoa took care of the mechanical installation of up to 8 pavilions, in addition to other major construction projects.

These activities included the mechanical and electrical installation of a number of pavilions, such as the Royal Pavilion and the Discovery Pavilion, as well as those belonging to Canada, Africa, Morocco, Spain, Jerez and the Vatican. It also contributed to the construction of the Palenque and the assembly of the suspension board for the Alamillo Bridge, the electrical lighting at the site and in the parking area of Charco de la Pava, in addition to the expo’s medium voltage installation and the laying of the fiber optics. All of this work was categorized for its significant size, as well the need for offering swift response and action times.

The elevated scenic train and the panoramic tower are two more projects that can be singled out as truly unique. Let’s look at them in more detail:

The scenic train

Tren panorámicoThis elevated feature was added to the Expo’s existing transport system and it ran alongside the lake which allowed the passengers on it to enjoy a privileged view of America Square and the pavilions belonging to the autonomous regions, in addition to Spain’s Pavilion, the Road to Discovery, the canal with the same name, and the Future Square. It then carried on towards Avenue V above the river, all the international pavilions, and finally Sony Square and the Puerta Itálica, offering a panoramic view of the whole site.

Furthermore, three stations were developed with large access and exit ramps and their design, in terms of accessibility, is still seen today in different infrastructures. The open-air platform areas and train stops were protected by a vegetation cover which helped to improve outdoor climatic conditions, based on bioclimatic factors.

The panoramic train reached a maximum speed of 20 km/h and was able to accelerate at a speed of 0.5 m/s2. All the electrical systems, pneumatic-tyred wheels, small acceleration, as well as climate control were designed to achieve previously unknown noise levels both inside and out of the train.

A box beam on elevated pillars was used for the tracks which ran at a height of six meters. The box beam was designed with wings on its upper face and was divided into sections by expansion joints between T-pillars that were six meters high, and which covered its circuit of 3,100 meters.

The scenic train’s infrastructure stands out even further when we remember the limited knowledge and engineering 25 years ago.

Standing where we are today in the year 2017 with all of its present power of calculation and design, all of this may not seem such a great milestone, but we must not overlook that back in 1992, the calculations and verifications were all made with finite elements and the programs that existed back then were certainly not as user-friendly as those we find today. Adding to this challenge, the fact that things were being done “for the very first time” undeniably helped and boosted Abengoa’s know-how and engineering.

The Jumbotron screen:

PantallaThe Jumbotron screen was the centerpiece of the Sony Square which was designed to be a venue for concerts and daily shows. The screen rested on a reinforced concrete building where audio and video rooms were housed, and on top of this stood the metal structure with its 60 independent modules that made up the screen. The difficulty of the requirements that the construction of this screen demanded in terms of precision of assembly and limitation of movement of its own weight and that of external loads were another challenge that had to be addressed.

The panoramic tower

Torre panorámicaAnother outstanding project that Abengoa was involved in was a 360º observation tower, some 92 meters high which was more commonly known as Piruli. What made it even more unique was how the platform turned on its vertical axis as it rose up the mast. The tower received more than 2,000 visitors each day.

So, this year marks the 25th anniversary of Expo 92, and we take advantage of the occasion to remember the world event, the venue, and the construction that took place. Some of these buildings were supposed to be temporary and designed to last until the end of the Expo, yet we find them still standing today, which provides further proof of the success of the event and the construction that was undertaken.

Teodoro López del Cerro

Teodoro López del Cerro, Chief Technical Officer, Abengoa

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