After near 30 years of neglect, the centrally located square Plaza de la Encarnación was redeveloped. The city government of Seville organised an open competition in 2004, which was won by the team Juergen Mayer H and Arup.
The original concept integrated an archaeological museum incorporating the Roman ruins found on site, a food market which 30 years ago was based in the square, an elevated plaza and a high-level café. The highlight however are the six mushroom-shaped timber shading structures, called Parasols, which with a size of 150 x 75 m and a height of 30 m cover the entire square and envelop the afore mentioned uses. Furthermore, at high level there is a café, viewing platforms and walkways, from which views of the entire city of Seville.
The most challenging elements of the project were the timber Parasols, which have been realized with much intensive design and innovation and with few exceptions to the original competition concept. The main challenges were the following: protection from the elements with a polyurethane skin; developing a new connection detail based on glued-in threaded rods with a special post-curing process; setting up an iterative design tool to define the timber elements; and following the timber onto site and supervising the erection.
The museum and market structure is also interesting, as the steel Virendeel structure spans over the Roman ruins, supported in discreet positions to respect the archaeology.
The new Metropol Parasol, Plaza de la Encarnacion opened to the public on March 27th, 2011.