An incredible set of massive wooden parasols is currently springing up in Seville, and when they're completed next Spring they're expected to form the largest wooden structure in the world. The urban project, called Metropol Parasols, will create a sheltered plaza that hosts a museum, a farmers market, and a cultural center. Residents and visitors will flock under the giant umbrellas to take refuge in the microclimate while socializing and taking in the city.
Amazingly, the covered courtyard project isn’t just an attempt to give the people of Seville a shady place to hang out. The site was originally meant to be a parking garage, but during excavation in the early 2000s, workers discovered a hidden archaeological site. Thankfully, instead of going on with the original plans, they decided to make the space into a culture and community center, which will be called the Plaza de la Encarnacion.
Underground facilities have been constructed to assist with the archaeological dig, while the street level hosts a covered farmer’s market, a public plaza, and multiple restaurants and bars. Visitors can also take a promenade up top on the parasols, which will offer incredible views of the city. Access to the museum and archaeological site as well as the rooftop promenade is provided via the columns.
The parasols are constructed of timber plates finished with a polyurethane coating — the project is partially funded by the largest European contractor of advanced wooden structures and timber & glass cladding, finnforest-merk (FFM). This mesh-like wooden structure will provide shade below, creating a microclimate that encourages urban activity and community engagement. J. Mayer H. won a competition back in 2004 to design the project, and he was assisted by Arup on the engineering side.
Images and renderings courtesy of Jurgen Mayer H.