Monday, 2 May 2011

Stylish, but Sustainable? Synthetic Super-Sized Wood Trees

Stylish, but Sustainable? Synthetic Super-Sized Wood Trees: [ By Delana in Art & Design & Geography & Travel & News & Politics. ]

An ambitious architectural project seven years in the making has finally opened in the heart of Seville, Spain. As the largest bonded-wood construction project ever attempted, the Metropol Parasol serves to tie together the ultra-modern parts of Seville with the historic medieval areas.

(image via: Inhabitat)

The impressive structure features undulating wooden surfaces that reach heights of up to 30 meters (90 feet). Beneath the wave-like surface of the parasol are a museum, bars and restaurants, a farmer’s market and a raised plaza for concerts. The very top of the structure features a long, winding walkway and terrace with incredible views of the surrounding area.

(image via: Inhabitat)

Plaza de la Encarnacion, the area of Seville where the Metropol Parasol is now located, was once destined to be a parking lot. But when excavations revealed the ruins of a Roman district beneath the surface of the location, city officials decided that a cultural statement would be a more appropriate use of the land.

(image via: Dezeen)

A competition to determine the most interesting design for the land netted plenty of enticing ideas, but J├╝rgen Mayer H’s design captured the imaginations of the judges. The architectural firm was given the go-ahead to begin the project, but the complexity of the design meant that it took several years to become a reality.

(image via: The Guardian)

The Metropol Parasol is a modern structure through and through, but the fact that it is made mostly of wood hearkens back to a different architectural period entirely. The polyurethane coating on the wood and the high-performing glue holding everything together link the present to the future. Seville’s iconic new structure is poised to change the entire dynamic of this vibrant city.

(image via: The Guardian)

Although the structure is not entirely wooden – there are concrete and steel elements – the neutral feel of the wooden elements lends a natural feel to the overall project. Combined with the organic shapes of the undulating parasols, the Metropol Parasol project evokes the feeling of being in a natural space in the middle of the city. Thanks to the honeycomb-like patterns of the overhead elements, the Parasol even provides some welcome relief from the bright Spanish sun.

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