The city of Seville might be best known in art circles as the birthplace of famed Spanish painter Diego Velazquez, but now the city has another claim to fame — it is now the home of the world’s largest wooden structure, a 5,000 square meter canopy over the central Plaza de la Encarnacion.
Reminiscent of Zaha Hadid alien buildings but decidedly less futuristic, the Metropol Parasol, designed by Jürgen Mayer H., is made out of cross-hatching timber planks on top of a steel structure. The undulating surface of the canopy is also home to a walkway that curves in and out of the Parasol’s branches. Walking along the promenade would be like walking on top of an ethereal cloud.
Photos of the structure show the curvilinear Parasol segments contrasting nicely with classic European architecture, the contemporary against the timeless. But the two aesthetics aren’t fighting each other — the monochrome stretches of the Parasol compliment the stiffness of Seville’s rectilinear blocks. Seen from the air, it’s like a wooden spaceship landed in the city’s main square, an extra-terrestrial market place that’s a soft version of Chinese architecture firm MAD’s Superstar, an angular intergalactic “Chinatown.”
Aside from being an awesome viewing platform and boon on hot days, the Metropol Parasol also holds “a farmers market and multiple bars and restaurants underneath and inside the parasols.” So are inhabitable canopies the new High Line of international urbanism? Are we going to start seeing cloud platforms instead of renovated railways? What will NYC do to catch up!?