The Metrosol Parosol building is highly controversial as it sways about amidst the historic buildings of Seville. If anything, it is worth a gander and meander for its bizarre construction and design. Our writer in Andalucía, Robin Graham, warns of vertigo and great views with his expert advice.
By Robin Graham
Disgruntled Sevillanos, are more enamoured of the legendary city’s antique architecture – the cathedral with its Giralda minaret, the Alcazar, the Golden Tower. The latest building is called Las Setas, or the mushrooms. In fairness, the name has stuck with those who like them too. Either way, visitors to the city are regularly surprised to find that one of its most striking architectural offerings was completed as recently as April 2011.
The mushrooms are in fact it – a single structure that rises 26 metres over Plaza de la Encarnación, one of Seville’s traditional market squares and that resembles nothing more than a cluster of the aforementioned fungi. Designed by German architect Jürgen Mayer-Hermann, the building is properly called the Metrosol Parosol and may well be the world’s largest wooden structure.
It has four distinct levels – the underground archaeological exhibit of Roman and Moorish remains, the ground level which today preserves the square’s heritage with a central market and two upper levels of undulating, at times dizzying walkways the visitor can navigate for a small fee.
Up here, the design really begins to make sense. Largely rivet-free, the curving forms of the slatted wooden pieces form an astonishing framework through, over and under which to view the old city – spires and old church towers appearing between the gaps of the mushroom canopy as you walk your way around, up and down this disorientating but seductive structure.
Those who suffer from vertigo will be challenged here but if you do find yourself feeling a little insecure on the narrow ramps, remember you’re in Spain now, Andalusia no less, so yes, there’s a bar. The fee for ascending to the upper levels is currently just €1.35 and those born or resident in Seville are exempted.
What is your fav thing to do in Seville besides eat?
Robin Graham writes about Andalusia, Spain and some other stuff. His stories can be found, with accompanying photography, at alotofwind He’s a private person but, strangely, doesn’t mind being followed: @robinjgraham or liked: alotofwind Photography at 500px.