In Seville, a Parasol and a Landmark

On Seville’s Plaza de la Encarnacion, the Metropol Parasol by J Mayer H Architects serves as a new urban center for tourists and locals alike. It’s sited within the dense, Medieval fabric of the inner city, where a highly developed infrastructure makes it accessible 24/7.

It effectively defines the relationship between historical and contemporary Seville, with an archeological site, a farmers market, an elevated plaza, with multiple bars and restaurants beneath and inside the parasols, and a panoramic terrace atop.

Built entirely of polyurethane-coated timber, the Parasol was conceived to provide a roof structure for shade during the day and an artificial sky at night.  It emphasizes the Plaza’s role as one of the city’s main activity hubs, with spaces for sports and cultural activities like volleyball, boxing and basketball, as well cultural events like cinema, theatre, concerts, fashion shows and corporate events.

The market reactivates the vivid everyday life that once characterized the Plaza de la Encarnacion, adding quality of life for residents and making it easily accessible to those from neighboring parts of the city.  “We see the market as a fresh local institution, a condensation point of the agricultural activity around Seville that brings pulsating life to the area at daytime,” said architect Jurgen Mayer.  “The organization of the floor plan allows for most areas of the market to be closed at night while keeping the bars on the north and south edge of the complex open.” 

The elevated plaza responds to the need for a large, multifunctional urban meeting space in the old city center of Seville.   It’s connected to the street level via large stairways that function as activators for street life.  Large enough to mark the plaza as a public space, the stairways also make for easy reconfiguration during concerts, theatre performances or fashion shows.  Holes in the platform visually connect it to the market underneath and further to the museum underground.

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