Innovative Architecture - Metropol Parasol in Seville, Spain

Interested in learning about some innovative architecture?

Our guest blogger, Seth Plattner, is a recent graduate from New York University who bides his time writing, dining and doing his best to make sense of the world around him. With an appreciation for fine architecture, Seth contacted J. Mayer H. to learn more about his new project for readers of

Here's his article:

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Seville, Spain, a city known internationally for its eclectic mixture of culture and history, is undergoing a grand unification at the hands of famed German architect J. Mayer H .

Under construction in Seville's city center-El Plaza de la Encarnacion-is the Metropol Parasol, a free standing structure that marks the conjugal existence of a number of enterprises including an ancient Roman archeological site, a farmers market, an elevated plaza, multiple bars and restaurants underneath and inside the parasols, as well as a panoramic walk on the very top of the parasols.

By combining such a wide array of affairs, Mayer H. is creating a contemporary structure that births from the distant past and further encompasses cultural building blocks-food, drink and social space-that remind us of Seville's history yet point to the future. It will be an infrastructure that will not only revitalize the square as a destination for locals and tourists alike, but also identify and articulate Seville's position as one of Spain's most intriguing cultural habitats.

The parasol itself speaks volumes about Mayer H.'s role as a figure at the forefront of architectural ingenuity. Besides focusing on breakthroughs and innovation in architectural aesthetics, the sprawl of grid-like mushroom canopies is a well-planned structure that integrates nicely into its physical and social environment. Made of light timber wood with a polyurethane coating, Mayer H. picked a material and construction that, with the combination of natural smart materials and conventional craftsmanship, is climatically sensitive and provides low air-conditioning input through material and shading. In turn, the parasol becomes a comfortable social space for the people of Seville, yet it is eco-friendly. Its coat is self-cleaning and only needs repainting every 20 to 25 years. Furthermore, due to its low maintenance components and weather protection, it won't become one of those doomed European markers that bother locals with constant renovation.

The Metropol Parasol should accommodate the citizens of Seville, as they had a large part in its creation. Always mindful of ethical standards and social equity, Mayer H. made sure that from the beginning the public was involved through forums and symposiums, allowing them to express their opinions and concerns about the project. In doing so, Mayer H. was able to design an edifice that spoke to the identity and awareness in Seville. The parasol addresses the local efforts concerning the linkage of southern Seville with its cultural, commercial and administrative core to the poorer residential area north of El Plaza de la Encarnacion. As a result, the plaza becomes a source of activation and renaissance, effectively creating an attractive and exciting meeting place for the entire city and the surrounding area.

Globally, this will re-establish Seville's image as a city that is concerned with its social, cultural and historic well-being. With such an attentive gaze on the progress of its growth, Seville, through the help of architects like J. Mayer H, will solidify its worldly importance now and in the future.

Seth Plattner
Guest Blogger

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Sep 17, 2006
by Anonymous (not verified)

Great article. Thanks.

Great article. Thanks.