The Spanish city of Seville is old. This 2000-year past lures tourists to historical sites across the city, but the scorching summer sun is not the most welcome travel companion. Especially in June, when the average high is nearly 100 degrees. A newly-completed Metropol Parasol by J. Mayer H. adds some much-needed shade to a parcel that used to be a parking lot between historic sites. This novel, urban-scaled umbrella is made of concrete, steel, wood and “super strong glue.” But if you’ve had enough shade, you can walk on top of the sprawling structure and eat at a restaurant perched in the wooden, waffle-lattice cloud.
There is an excellent article by Rowan Moore about the new structure. In the funny and smart article, Rowan answers a question I have always wondered about the architect: “Jürgen Mayer H, a rising Berlin-based architect, now aged 45, who for reasons of effect has shifted his middle initial to the end of his name.” He goes on to discuss the disconnect between the old city and its very new icon, saying that the public space can feel more like an inside-out mall. Which, to me, is better than a parking lot outside the mall entirely.