Stylish, but Sustainable? Synthetic Super-Sized Wood Trees

An ambitious architectural project seven years in the making has finally opened in the heart of Seville, Spain. As the largest bonded-wood construction project ever attempted, the Metropol Parasol serves to tie together the ultra-modern parts of Seville with the historic medieval areas.

(image via: Inhabitat)

The impressive structure features undulating wooden surfaces that reach heights of up to 30 meters (90 feet). Beneath the wave-like surface of the parasol are a museum, bars and restaurants, a farmer’s market and a raised plaza for concerts. The very top of the structure features a long, winding walkway and terrace with incredible views of the surrounding area.

(image via: Inhabitat)

Plaza de la Encarnacion, the area of Seville where the Metropol Parasol is now located, was once destined to be a parking lot. But when excavations revealed the ruins of a Roman district beneath the surface of the location, city officials decided that a cultural statement would be a more appropriate use of the land.

(image via: Dezeen)

A competition to determine the most interesting design for the land netted plenty of enticing ideas, but Jürgen Mayer H’s design captured the imaginations of the judges. The architectural firm was given the go-ahead to begin the project, but the complexity of the design meant that it took several years to become a reality.

(image via: The Guardian)

The  Metropol Parasol is a modern structure through and through, but the fact that it is made mostly of wood hearkens back to a different architectural period entirely. The polyurethane coating on the wood and the high-performing glue holding everything together link the present to the future. Seville’s iconic new structure is poised to change the entire dynamic of this vibrant city.

(image via: The Guardian)

Although the structure is not entirely wooden – there are concrete and steel elements – the neutral feel of the wooden elements lends a natural feel to the overall project. Combined with the organic shapes of the undulating parasols, the Metropol Parasol project evokes the feeling of being in a natural space in the middle of the city. Thanks to the honeycomb-like patterns of the overhead elements, the Parasol even provides some welcome relief from the bright Spanish sun.


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