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. A maglev train on a test track outside Tokyo. A scheme to build a line between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., has been in the works for years.
    Transportation

    The Battle of the Supertrains

    Promoters are touting two different multi-billion-dollar high-speed projects between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore. Is it a fantasy, or a game changer?

  2. Equity

    Is the Rental Housing Explosion Over?

    For the first time since 2005, growth in new rental housing slowed down. Are there really enough apartments to meet demand?

  3. Downtown Roanoke is pictured.
    Life

    The Small Appalachian City That’s Thriving

    Roanoke, Virginia, has become what many cities of its size, geography, and history want to be. It started by bringing housing to a deserted downtown.

  4. Equity

    The Hidden Rooms Within New York's Public Housing

    A new study from New York’s Independent Budget Office reveals that nearly a third of public housing units are under-occupied, often by older residents living alone. But can the city find a humane fix?

  5. A mural at a restaurant in the Mexican Town district of Detroit
    Life

    How Place Shapes Our Politics

    Political scientist and author Ryan Enos explains how geography can sharpen political conflicts.