The Metropol Parasol is both a new landmark for the city of Seville and an engineering adventure – one of the largest timber structures ever built. We worked with architect Jürgen Mayer H to develop its award-winning design.
The project consists of six large timber parasols shading the Plaza de la Encarnación and protecting an archaeological site. The parasols, constructed in a mushroom-shaped timber lattice, frame the structure and create shadows that move continuously throughout the day.
The structure has four intertwined permeable levels: a basement with a platform to view the archaeology, a 2,155m² marketplace with a raised square for performances and shows, a restaurant, and a public balcony with panoramic views of Seville’s old quarter.
To create this unique structure, we decided, after experimental investigations, to use a micro-laminated wood called Kerto. Consisting of 3mm thick veneers glued together, it offers much higher shear strength than solid wood. The timber is protected from the elements with a waterproof polyurethane coating.
Crucial for the behaviour of the Metropol Parasol are the 3000 connection nodes at the intersections of the timber elements.
Engineers at Arup and FFM developed an innovative connection detail based on glued-in steel bars, which at the same time are optimized for rapid erection on site.
A thermal analysis revealed that the hot climate of southern Spain would be a particular challenge for the connection detail, engineers had to develop a new bonding process, specifically for use in this climate. Any detail adjustments and pre-assembly of the connection elements were carried out in Germany before the 3000 elements were sent by truck to southern Spain.
The elements were polyurethane coated on-site by a local company before final assembly.