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Past and future will meet in Seville.

ON A POSTCARD FROM Seville, Spain, dated 1903, Phoebe Hearst, mother of publishing magnte William Randolph Hearst, likened the region to California. She was referring to the Andalusian orange harvest, but her comparison could also be applied to the arid climate and the tradition of outdoor living around patios and courtyards.

Andalusian architecture and gardens, especially, have always fascinated Westerners. During the 1920s, for example, Spanish-Moorish palaces like Seville's Alcazar and Granada's Alhambra inspired a Hollywood craze for courtyard or "garden apartments."

Now the region has a new architectual lure: Seville Expo '92, a world's fair running April 20 through October 12 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's original voyage to the New World.

The Expo is a massive, $1.8-billion construction project on a 538-acre site on La Cartuja island in the Guadalquivir River. Seven new bridges link it to Seville's historic center.

Like the expos at Montreal in 1967 and Osaka in 1970, Seville's is a universal exposition--the last this century--which means that it covers all aspects of human endeavor related to a chosen theme.

Seville's theme is "The Age of Discoveries," a celebration of the ingenuity and imagination that have shaped the cultures and nations of the world since 1492. The site reinforces the theme: Spain's most famous explorers, including Columbus, Hernando Cortes, and Vasco Nunez de Balboa, sailed down the Guadalquivir on their way to the New World.

A universal exposition can be more of an international museum of architecture than more specialized expos because each participating country and corporation is responsible for the design and construction of its own pavilion. More than a hundred countries will be represented at Seville, so you'll see structures by a pantheon of leading architects, from Italy's Gae Aulenti to Japan's Tadao Ando and Spain's Javier Feduchi.

At the heart of the Expo are four major pavilions--still under construction when we visited this past summer--dedicated to the following subjects: the 15th century as an age of cultural collision, scientific discoveries from the 15th century to the present, 500 years of navigation, and telecommunications and energy use in the future. The site becomes an industrial research park in 1993.

If there is a signature structure, it is the 15th-century Carthusian monastery occupying the southern quadrant of the site and now undergoing meticulous restoration. Its complex architectural history encompasses the entire five centuries celebrated by the exposition. It once held Columbus's remains, and from 1838 until 1982 it functioned as a ceramics factory, with a row of striking cone-shaped kilns turning out some of Seville's most famous ornamental tilework.

According to Vicente Lleo Canal, professor of architectural history at the University of Seville and director of the restoration, this area will be a more contemplative part of the exposition, devoted to exhibitions on the world as it was in 1492, the Mediterranean landscape, and the restoration process.



Because summer temperatures routinely soar above 100[degrees], designers have adapted ideas from Seville's long tradition of Spanish-Moorish garden planning for cooling solutions.

The sounds and sights of gushing, spraying, and falling water are always present. Trellises made from plants, structural steel, and stretched fabric shade most walkways and plazas.

Among the most dramatic shade structures are the 12 gigantic, 59-foot-tall cones--shaped like the monastery's kilns--along the Avenue of Europe, representing the 12 members of the European Economic Community. Nearby is the Palenque, a vast open-air plaza under a turreted high-tech tent.

Expo hours are 9 A.M. to 4 A.M. Daily admission is about $40 U.S. for adults, $15 for senirs and ages 5 through 14. A three-day adult pass costs $100. A special night-time price of $10 allows admission from 8 P.M. to 4 A.M. Call (011-34-5) 446-1992 or write to Expo '92, Expotourist Service, Isla de la Cartuja, 41010 Seville, Spain.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:world's fair to open next April in Spain
Date:Nov 1, 1991
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