Courtesy: David Franck

The formerly despised work is now a central part of the city's urban fabric.

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.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Design

    A History of the American Public Library

    A visual exploration of how a critical piece of social infrastructure came to be.

  2. Equity

    Berlin Builds an Arsenal of Ideas to Stage a Housing Revolution

    The proposals might seem radical—from banning huge corporate landlords to freezing rents for five years—but polls show the public is ready for something dramatic.

  3. A photo of a design maquette for the Obama Presidential Center planned for Jackson Park and designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects with Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.
    Design

    Why the Case Against the Obama Presidential Center Is So Important

    A judge has ruled that a lawsuit brought by Chicago preservationists can proceed, dealing a blow to Barack Obama's plans to build his library in Jackson Park.

  4. Maps

    Mapping the Growing Gap Between Job Seekers and Employers

    Mapping job openings with available employees in major U.S. cities reveals a striking spatial mismatch, according to a new Urban Institute report.

  5. Design

    There’s a Tile Theft Epidemic in Lisbon

    With a single azulejo fetching hundreds of euros at the city’s more reputable antique stores, these tiles, sitting there out in the open, are easy pickings.