Metropol Parasol: The World’s Largest Wooden Structure/ One More Reason to Visit Seville

photo © Fernando Alda

photo © Fernando Alda

Project: Metropol Parasol
Redevelopment of Plaza de la Encarnacion, Seville, Spain
Function: archeological site, farmers market, elevated plaza, multiple bars and restaurants
Site area: 18,000 square meters
Building area: 5,000 square meters
Total floor Area: 12,670 square meters
Number of floors: 4
Height of the building: 28.50 meters
Structure: concrete, timber and steel
Principal Exterior: timber and granite
Principal interior material: concrete, granite and steel
Designing period: 2004-2005
Construction period: 2005-2011
Building/Cost: 90 Million Euro

photo © David Franck

What is there not to like about Metropol Parasol?  The waffle-like crown structure in Seville, Spain has been finally completed in April 2011 after a competition held by the city of Seville in 2004.  Located at Plaza de la Encarnacion, the stunning sequence of undulating parasols comprises the world’s largest wooden structure. The Metropol Parasol project was part of the redevelopment of the Plaza de la Encarnacíon, designed by J. MAYER H. Architects, this project becomes the new icon for Seville, a place of identification and to articulate Seville’s role as one of the world´s most fascinating cultural destinations.

photo © Fernando Alda

photo © Fernando Alda

Metropol’s interweaving waffle-like wooden panels rise from concrete base reinforced with steel, which are positioned in such a way to architecturally form canopies and walkways below the parasols. Metropol Parasol was given this contemporary organic design to explore the potential that the Plaza de la Encarnacion becomes the new fashionable, modern-day urban center. The Metropol Parasol’s function as a unique organic urban space within the crowded and dense fabric of the medieval city center of Seville allows for a variety of activities to be performed.  The exceedingly developed infrastructure aids in triggering the movement at the square, thus transforming it into a hive of activity – a social and cultural hub where both residents, visitors and tourists can gather under the architecturally motivating ‘crown-like waffle’.

photo © Fernando Alda

Realized as one of the largest and most innovative bonded timber-constructions with a polyurethane coating, the parasols grow out of the archaeological excavation site into a contemporary landmark, defining a unique relationship between the historical and the contemporary city.” J. MAYER H. Architects

photo © Fernando Alda

The Metropol Parasol scheme with its imposing timber structure offers a range of attractions and amenities to be used by the public.  Such functions include an archaeological museum, a farmers market, an elevated plaza, and multiple bars and restaurants underneath and inside the parasols, as well as a panorama terrace on the upper level of the parasols. Realized as one of the largest and most innovative bonded timber-constructions with a polyurethane coating, the parasols grow out of the archaeological excavation site into a contemporary landmark, thus defining a distinctive relationship between the historical medieval city and the contemporary city beat!  Metropol Parasols mix-used multicultural program sets off a dynamic development for culture and commerce in the heart of Seville and beyond.

photo © David Franck

the form of this building was inspired by the vaults of Seville’s expansive cathedral – I wanted to create a “cathedral without walls” that would be “democratic” – and also by the handsome trees already in the square.’’ Jürgen Mayer H

photo © David Franck

The design scheme and the idea of Metropol Parasol was to offer shade, a valuable ‘service’ in a city as sunny and hot as Seville, and so make the square, which used to operate as a parking lot more livable. Respecting the presence of the Roman ruins, the architectural planning was dealt in such a way as to leave the ruins undisturbed.  Columns supporting the crown could only be positioned in a few places, involving ambitious structure – designed with the help of the engineers Arup – to span the gaps between them.  From these conditions came the mushroom stem-like torsos, a sufficient amount to include lifts and stairs, and a structural system using timber and steel, held together with high-performance polyurethane resin, tested to ensure it would endure even the highest temperatures in this spot. Among the project’s pride is that it is the world’s largest construction to be held together by polyurethane (foam seal).

photo © Fernando Alda

photo © Fernando Alda

sources:

J. MAYER H. Architects

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