Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Monumental Project: The Metrosol Parasol

My second post on interesting construction from the Iberian Penninsula  is  highlighted by a close look at one of the more innovative projects under construction in the world today - the Metrosol Parasol in Seville. Our group was fortunate to be invited on a tour of this incredible project by Arup, the general contractor on the job. The design for the project was done by J. Mayer H. Architects, know for their funky designs and cutting edge materials, and is supposed to represent a sort of organic tree canopy over what used to be a car park which is now being transformed into a public park.

Background: The city of Seville was interested in turning an existing car park into a new public space. Upon preliminary excavation work remains from an ancient roman bath house were uncovered, suspending construction and giving the city time to decide how to proceed. It was decided that the best solution would be to host an international design competition for the highest and best use of the land, which was won by J Mayer H. architects of Germany. The idea was to create 4 tiers of space, each with seperate functionalities but incorporated into one coherent structure. The design would resemble 4 separate parasols, or canopies, that when taken together, would resemble a sort of urban forest.

The basement of the new Metrosol Parasol, as it was deemed, would incorporate the Roman ruins as the centerpiece of a new museum for the city, also creating revenue for the city. An amazing feat of construction was accomplished here, in that no interior columns could touch the ruins underneath the enormous structure. To solve this problem the project engineers designed a system that would allow the columns to rest on elevated interior trusses that would transfer all the weight to the exterior foundation walls.
The ground floor of the project is designed to function as a public marketplace with numerous stalls to allow for shopping, gathering, and socialization. Lack of public market space in this neighborhood was identified by the city as an important issue to address, and was therefore excited about the possibilities of this flexible space.
The second level of the Metrosol Parasol will be donated entirely to public space. There will be a large open floor plan to allow for gatherings, concerts, festivals and other public events. It will be accessed through stairways in the trunks of the Parasol, as well as through central escalators.

The third and final level will include an observation deck and restaurant with limited hours. The deck is currently one of the highest points in the city and commands views from the Calatrava Bridge to the beaufitul Seville Cathedral.

The design and construction of this project are truly amazing.3-D modeling has been heavily utilized in producing and constructing pieces of precise fit. A completely new type of reinforced, engineered lumber has been developed for the canopy of the parasol, and an innovative new basement construction method was also used. The Metrosol Parasol, scheduled for completion sometime in 2011, marks the beginning of new mellinium for the city of Seville and will be a monument to Spanish creativity, drive, and influence for years to come.

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff. It'd be cool if they could include a green roof accessible for public use to increase park space.