Last week we took some time to look at the architecture in Seville (and there is something for everyone when it comes to architecture here!).
One of our stops was the Metropol Parasol, popularly known as “Las Setas” (the “Mushrooms”), an enormous wooden (birch) structure opened 10 years ago. Las Setas consists of six large wooden parasols in the shape of mushrooms, up to 26 meters high, with winding sloped walkways to the top, where one can take in beautiful views of Seville.
The structure covers a large market area, an open event space, and below ground is a viewing area for the Roman architectural remains that were uncovered before construction of the Setas began (discovery of previously unknown ruins is often the case in Seville once digging commences). The area covered by the Setas was originally intended to become an underground parking garage, but the discovery of the Roman ruins put a halt to that. Plan B involved a design competition to revitalize the area, and German architect Jurgen Mayer proposed the winning plan, Metropol Parasol.
Las Setas are viewed by Sevillanos with a mixture of distaste for their appearance, and appreciation for the views and shade they provide. The construction of the project was problematic in many respects, which adds to the locals’ lack of love – problems with the structural aspects, design issues, concerns over the Roman ruins and their preservation, and massive cost overruns. Yet, on a hot day, you will find many people enjoying the shade and the views, and paying a hefty fee to visit the viewing area at the top. And yes, in order to leave, you must pass through the Gift Shop.
Some Photos are below.