THE TIMBER PIER

– Life lessons to be learnt from Metropol Parasol: if you mushroom of the ground plane with full force and conviction, you’ll find a way to survive and thrive in your local ecosystem. #ArchitecturalGeek#Sevilla #nofilters #MajorThrowBackSeries#lifelessons #metropolparasol

Set on the plains of the river of Guadlquivir, Seville was founded as a Roman city but it fell in the clutches of the Muslim conquest in 712 AD. The city is steeped in history, and through time it learned to modify and change itself a number of times. With culture so deeply woven into the city fabric, the Metropol Parasol, a large architectural intervention that mushrooms over La Encarnación square initially faced a lot of opposition. Many residents as well as members of the local authorities believed that the timber structure stuck out like a sore thumb in the urban layout, while some felt that the city should perhaps adapt to change and new times.

The structure proposed over the dilapidated parking lot, which was merely seen as a dead spot between more popular tourist destinations, is undeniably enchanting. The parasol grows out of an archaeological excavation site into a modern-day landmark located in the heart of the old quarters of Seville.

The organic structure bourgeons off the ground at six different points, and programmatically divides itself into four different levels. The lowest level is in fact an excavation site of an ancient Roman district; replete with remnants of old house walls and mosaic surfaces. The level above sits partially below the outside ground level, and houses various shops and stores of daily commodities; while the floor above this contains a number of restaurants. These eateries often spill over into the main public areas creating interesting interstitial spaces of congregation. The roof level houses another restaurant and viewing gallery. A winding pathway sprawled across the undulating canopy facilitates stunning vantage points over the city roofline.

The initial design intent was to bring shade to the plaza to create a climate that invites people even in hot summer months. The notion of the project had always been to understand the fine balance between light and shadow, as the designers began to explore interventions that could be interesting to the city fabric and architecturally abstracted. While employing different iterations of their concepts, they often shifted scales of various elements found on site to establish a relationship between the design and its context.

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