The tree grew out of waste ground
under a bridge, a ‘tree of heaven',
vigorous and fast growing. Two
main stems shot straight up out of
the mud, washed over trash, cans,
plastic bottles and mushy papers.
Interrupted in their ascent by the
underside of the bridge, the two
stems bent through ninety degrees, following closely the concrete roof,
until, reaching the outer edge, they
resumed their upward trajectory.
I saw this tree shortly after
I began poking around the Ebro
riverside, wondering what I was
going to make for the Expo.
At first I wanted to copy it but,
later, came to realise that the image was guiding my choice of site.
I looked under and beside all of
the bridges in Zaragoza, from the
Expo site where Zaha Hadid's just
beginning new crossing down to
the new weir just being strung
across the river below the Puente
de la Unión. I looked at how the
bridges were made, at the flotsam and jetsam caught against the piers,
at the rippling water, the surface
charged and turbulent as the flow
increased in the restricted passages.
The Puente de la Unión, seen on
that first day with the rivers banks
a little raw and the site somewhat
muddy seemed like something
Piranesi might have relished, particularly the paired squat and
massive raw concrete supporting
pillars of the overhead roadways
with the streak of blue sky
revealed between them. Here was
a site that I was interested in and
where I wanted to work.