Inhabitat has covered Spain's stunning Metropol Parasol in the past - and we even interviewed the project's designer Jürgen Mayer - but this is the first time we've actually had a chance to visit the world's largest wooden structure, and it's like walking on a giant waffle roller coaster! Comprised of six curvilinear parasols that reference the nearby Cathedral of Seville, the 85-foot-tall monument constructed of bonded timber with a polyurethane coating has drawn scores of visitors since it opened last year. Flip through our gallery for a close look at all four levels and hit the jump to learn more about what makes this project so special.
The Metropol Parasol replaced what was going to be a parking garage, a €14 million project that was halted immediately upon the discovery of Moorish and Roman archaeological artifacts on the site. So, the municipality regrouped and launched an international design competition for an urban revival project that would renew the open air marketplace that has run in Seville’s historic old quarter for hundreds of years. Jürgen Mayer’s firm won the competition and construction commenced in 2005.
In 2007, the engineering firm Arup claimed that the project wasn’t structurally feasible, and new kinds of glue were used to make it so. Now, more than a year after its enormously popular inauguration, the soaring waffle roller coaster draws scores of visitors who can enjoy one of the best views of the city. There are four levels, starting with the underground Antiquarium housing the found artifacts, and then the ground floor marketplace. Two terraces and a series of winding ramps make up the upper two levels, and its even possible to have a meal at the restaurant. It’s one thing to write about a place, but something entirely different to see it up close and we highly recommend the experience.
All photographs by Tafline Laylin for Inhabitat