May 2017 – One of the activities I introduced my nephews to (back when they were wee little lads) was the craft of making things out of popsicle sticks.
It was all a lot of fun building things out of nothing but wood and glue, though it was often the case that we ran out of sticks to complete our rather ambitious projects. Planned mansions would end up looking more like those derelict homes left behind after a recession, with missing walls, doors, and roofs. These creations would then end up in some drawer, or on one occasion on a couch only to be sat on by a visiting relative with poor eyesight.
Now you’re probably wondering what all that has to do with Metropol Parasol in Seville, Spain. Not a whole lot, though it is a structure made out of (mostly) wood and held together with glue. It’s also a bit of an architectural marvel, and unlike our homemade creations there’s no danger of it being sat on and destroyed, seeing as it is the largest wooden structure in the world!
The Parasol was designed by German architect Jürgen Mayer, and is a striking development over what was once a marketplace in the old quarter of Seville. The locals we met referred to it as the giant mushrooms (“Las Setas” in Spanish), and it’s easy to see why. It’s also easy to see why opinions were divided when it was first opened in 2011 – it does, well, kind of stand out.
Personally, we loved the structure and spent a bit of time photographing it from different angles.
One of the highlights for us was going on the balcony of the Parasol, from where you can catch a bird’s eye view of the entire city. To visit the balcony, you’ll first have to purchase tickets from the booth located in the basement, and catch a lift to the top.
As we had arrived at Plaza de la Encarnación (the location of the Parasol) a little early, we decided to have dinner first. We found a nice little Japanese restaurant called Yamazaki just across the street, and enjoyed our time there till half an hour before sunset.
After purchasing our tickets, we made our way up to the balcony. The balcony level consists of a main viewing platform and a short walk which loops around the structure. One of the advantages of going around evening time is that you’ll also get to watch the entire city, along with the structure itself, light up.
Metropol Parasol is open from 10am to 11.30pm every day, and is a worthwhile visit if you happen to be in Seville. It’s unlike any structure I’ve ever seen before (at least in scale), and a remarkable work of architecture and engineering.
Now, where did I leave those popsicle sticks?