“ Address: Metropol Parasol, 41003 Seville, Spanien / A quirky modern structure in Seville, Spain. „
The Metropol Parasol. Seville.
Driving through the streets of Seville we came across a curious massive structure covering the plaza de la Encarnacion which was quirky and visually stunning especially more so at night when it is lit up. It is known locally as 'Las Setas de la Encarnación'. The plaza was in a rather run down state and the city council wanted to brighten it up somehow and a competition was arranged to come up with an idea that would enhance the features of the square.
The competition was won by a German architect who submitted his idea of this massive wooden structure that would completely cover the Square, look visually stunning and could be used as a tourist attraction. The estimated cost would be fifty million Euro. Of course as with many structures and due to the delays and other problems the final cost was nearer 100 + million Euros on completion.
Work started on the construction in 2005 but by 2007 they discovered that it was unstable as it had not been tested before using wooden materials. It took five years to construct and during the initial digging for the foundations where they were going to incorporate an underground car park they discovered Roman ruins dating from 30 AD under the Plaza which stopped the work. They decided to incorporate the Roman ruins by building a museum in the basement, have a central raised platform where performances can be held during the day and evening and then a further floor housing bars and a restaurant then the 85 foot high structure rising above the plaza.
The structure consists of 6 parasols all joined together creating a solid undulating effect stretching from one end of the plaza, crossing the road and covering the other half of the plaza with viewing platforms and a walkway across the top. In total it measures 490 feet long by 230 feet wide.
During construction they found that the structure was unstable as it was made of wood slatted together creating a honeycombed effect. After further investigation and research they decided to stick the wooden structure together with a very strong glue which is holding it together. There were uncertainties if the structure would stay together but the glue is a special type of very strong glue. If part of the structure is removed it would make the rest of the structure unstable. The wood is covered with a special polyurethane coating to make it waterproofed.
Entering the building.
To enter the building you have to go down some stairs or via an escalator to enter the admission hall. It is at this basement level that you can see the Roman ruins which are encased in glass with a wooden walkway running through the ruins. The ticket office is here where you buy your tickets to take the lift to the 1st floor central platform and up to the 2nd floor where you come out to the restaurant and bar level. At this point you are standing under the honeycombed structure. The lift is quite a funky lift and feels almost like being in Doctor Whos Tardis. Walking around the restaurant area you come to the walkway where it undulates over the top of the mushroom eventually leading up to the top of the structure. On route to the top you get some fantastic views of the city of Seville.
Being afraid of heights once reaching the top I just froze but once my friends had caught me up and assured me that you could not see down to ground level I walked over to the railings. I caught a glimpse of the ground level just over the railings and felt quite giddy. Just over the railings at the top of the structure is a covered area below so that you cannot see down to ground level. We stayed up there admiring the sprawling panoramic views of the city for about 15 minutes. After taking loads of photos we started our decent going down then up then back to the restaurant level taking the lift back down to the basement.
We then came out of the lift and heard music and singing emanating from the first level platform. We walked up the massive stairway leading to it to find a group of twenty youngsters singing, clapping and being accompanied by guitar. They were performing some kind of non-touch martial arts. They were only youngsters and I imagine the youngest was about 10 years old up to about 30 years old. They seemed to be really enjoying themselves and it drew a small crowed of people to watch them. The atmosphere on this level was really cheerful with the sounds of the music and people just wandering around.
Time for dinner.
We walked around the plaza and found a really nice restaurant which gave views of the mushroom and as night fell the structure was lit up. In the plaza on the opposite side of the road to the entrance there was a concert taking place. Once the sun went down it became chilly and although the plaza had seating outside the restaurants we chose to eat inside with a brilliant view of the mushroom. We were there for about three hours eating and drinking and enjoying the atmosphere. Coming out of the restaurant the concert was still going on and the structure was still open and you could see the people up on the top getting a Birdseye view of the lit up city.
* It is the worlds biggest wooden structure.
* It is the worlds first structure to be slotted together using glue.
Would I recommend a visit?
Yes I would as it incorporates so many things. Ancient relics and ruins in the basement and the modern practical design of the structure. The views over the city are fantastic. I am pleased we walked there and had a look around. The atmosphere is very relaxed and fun too especially with the music and concerts going on.
Love it or Hate it?
Some people hate the design and some people absolutely love it. I think it is something that is unique to the city like for example the London Eye or in Paris the Eiffel tower. I actually quite liked the Mushroom both from the appearance which is odd and unusual plus I think it adds something to the once dilapidated and run down area. It incorporates new and modern features combined with the ancient and I think the two marry up quite nicely together. It is certainly something that could add to the tourist attractions in the already beautiful city of Seville.
Approximately 10:30 to 0:00 and 01:00 Friday and Saturday.
Entrance cost. Euro 2 to take the lift to the restaurant level although if eating here I understand they will reimburse your entrance fee.
Suitability for people with mobility issues?
There are ramps down to the basement and you are able to take the lift to different levels however it would be extremely challenging to go to the viewing platform as there are many steps to reach the top of it.
Las Setas de la Encarnación
Plaza de la Encarnacion.