In 2007, when I visited Seville for the last time, I could saw the beginning of the so ambitious project Metropol by the German architect Jürgen Mayer H. Now, more than three years later, we can see new pictures from the Mayer's site, and have a clearer idea about the final image of this complex urban structure. The site located in the heart of Seville, on a recently discovered roman ruins, will allocate an archeological museum on the subterranean, a farmer’s market on ground level, and a raised panoramic deck. In addition, multiple bars and restaurants will be located underneath and inside the parasols. The form of the huge parasol structure is the result of structural constrains derived from the archeological ruins. The bulk of the structure is made of Kerto, a laminated veneer lumber that can be prestressed, cut into free forms, and shaped offsite for rapid assembly.
Many call his architecture as deconstructionist in a philosophically Derridean sense, looking to ideas from the 1970s that consider architecture not only as a kind of tectonic or historic system, but as an overall space that includes atmosphere, haptic qualities, material sensibilities, maybe smell, air, light, and sound. Now, thanks to new technologies, smart materials, and computer-aided-design, J. Mayer has been able to construct such innovative and radical design. I am willing to see the final result next year when completed. I am very curious to see if it is an urban space as J. Mayer declares, or just a building with a panoramic deck. After seeing the photographs of the deck’s structure, it looks very heavy and no that open.
"We like to compare our project with the church," he says, "but we call it the urban, 24-hour open cathedral," in contrast to the Catedral de Santa Maria's 'religious enclosed space" (J. Mayer).
I agree that the building is actually very close to the cathedral, due to its iconic role and its presence in the city . However and more doubtful about the urban character that Mayer defends
“Metropol Parasol is the new icon project for Sevilla, - a place of identification and to articulate Sevilla’s role as one of Spain’s most fascinating cultural destinations. Metropol Parasol explores the potential of the Plaza de la Encarnacion to become the new contemporary urban centre. Its role as a unique urban space within the dense fabric of the medieval inner city of Sevilla allows for a great variety of activities such as memory, leisure and commerce. A highly developed infrastructure helps to activate the square, making it an attractive destination for tourists and locals alike.
The Metropol Parasol scheme with its large mushroom like structures offers an archeological site, a farmers market, an elevated plaza, multiple bars and restaurants underneath and inside the parasols, as well as a panorama terrace on the very top of the parasols. Thought of as a light metal structure, the parasols grow out of the archeological excavation site into a contemporary landmark. The columns become prominent points of access to the museum below as well as to the plaza and panorama deck above, defining a unique relationship between the historical and the contemporary city. Metropol Parasol’s mixed-use character initiates a dynamic development for culture and commerce in the heart of Sevilla.” J. Mayer H.