Last April, J. MAYER H. and Arup’s massive urban experiment Metropol Parasol took shape in Seville, Spain, spreading its immense shade over Seville’s old central market. With its six massive timber parasols and sprawling, honeycombed mushroom cap, the project was an easy target for conservative locals, who criticized the design for being too modern. The galactic form seemed to disregard any notion of site specificity, engulfing the center of Seville with sculptural self-indulgence.
Almost a year later, sentiments have changed, to say the least. What was once considered invasive architecture is now a vital part of the urban fabric. Metropol Parasol is a shining success story about public space: the central market is now a thriving destination, as locals and foreigners alike are flocking to the plaza, and the contemporary agora has even become a gathering place for grassroots protest movements. As one interviewee put it, many skeptics of the project have since come around and grown to love the structure. No longer concerned with preserving the traditional past, they "realized this would be something for the future."
This post originally appeared on Architizer, an Atlantic partner site.