Here it stands, smack in the middle of town in Seville - this crazy structure that covers a plaza / playground and has a meandering walkway, restaurant and viewpoint at the top: Metropol Parasol. And no, I haven't been flying a drone - the first picture is a photo of a postcard I bought. Just to give an idea of the structure.


Now this is the type of project that can give architects and design competitions a bad name. The place where it was built had always housed a market. The good people of Seville wanted to 'reinvigorate' the plaza and held a design competition. It was won by a young German architect Juergen Mayer, with what I can only describe as a super crazy wood lattice mushroom dream. Can't certainly blame the guy for being too commonplace.... nor the competition judges for being too conservative. Way to go.

But as things sometimes turn out, problems came during construction.  Lots of them. The engineers said the suggested structure could not be certified to be safe because some special structural testing had not been done. Things ground to a halt. And in construction like in any business, time is money. And in big construction, time is big money.  The people of Seville started to like the mushrooms less and less.

After all the requisite testing was finished, and additional funding found, the construction finally stared again. The wood, which is birch imported from Finland because of its superior dimensional stability, looks stunning of course. (See how many good things come from Finland!). 

The initial budget of Eur 50 million ended up being doubled, but the structure was completed in 2011, and is one of the main attractions in Seville. Some people like it, some people don't. 

We thought it was groovy.