Examples of bioclimatic architecture. Metropol Parasol, Seville

About buildings with nearly zero energy and capable to guarantee the comfort of the building’s users,  Metropol Parasol in Seville is an example of bioclimatic architecture at high level.

Metropol Parasol as well as responding to the need to create a structure little energivorous, it also took into account the comfort of the users of the building, built in a place characterized by a very hot and humid climate.

Metropol Parasol is a laminated wood structure designed by the German architect Jürgen Mayer and completed in 2011.

The building complex was desigend with the aim of revitalizing and redeveloping the Plaza de la Encarnaciòn, in the ancient centre of Seville, neglected since the 1970s after the demolition of the city market.

parasolMetropol Parasol, Plaza de la Encarnaciòn, Seville

The dimensions of the building complex are remarkable. In fact, it measures 150 meters long by 70 meters wide by a height of 26 meters and represents the largest wooden structure in the world.

The structure is made of micro-laminated wood and is supported on six “trunks”, which are the supports in reinforced concrete, which contain the vertical connections that terminate in the top with large mushroom-shaped structures.

Metropol Parasol is popularly known as the “Mushrooms of the Incarnation”

To slow down the construction of the structure was the discovery of the ruins of a Roman site underlying the construction area. Thus, the construction was temporarily suspended in 2004, to be continued thereafter until it was finally opened in 2011, with the project for an archaeological museum of the site discovered, designed by Felipe Palomino Arquitectos firm.

Social Market

Finally, the structure is developed on five levels, each with a different destination:
– First level, basement with the archaeological museum;
– Second level, at land level with the farmers’ market;
– Third level, with the square above for theatrical performances;
– Fourth level, with the restaurants and bars area;
– Fifth level, with a panoramic terrace on the top of the mushrooms.

The design of the structure was entrusted to the experienced structural engineers of london-based group Arup. EIt consists of panels made of cross-bonded Kerto® LVL, made by gluing birch wood sheets, chosen for resistance quality, with a thickness of 3 mm. The Kerto-Q veneer allows the creation of pretentious surfaces.

The formed panels are painted and finished with a waterproof, breathable and flexible polyurethane resin. The exceptional ability to absorb the wood preservative in the impregnation process, allows the wood to be subjected to atmospheric agents.

The shape of the parasol is dictated by the geometry of the curved contour. The wood panels are shaped and joined into thousands knots with millions of bolts and screws. The length of the wooden panels varies between 1.5 m and 16.5 m and thicknesses between 7 and 30 cm. The thicker elements, measuring 16.5 x 3.5 x 0.14 m, are in the large concrete supports. Finally, a steel bracing system is inserted to reinforce the structure.

Elevated square

The eco-sustainability of the building complex and the comfort for the users are guaranteed by the wood as a structural element, thanks to its characteristic of resilient material; from the pipes inside to allow to allow the warm air to rise through the ceiling and allow a cooler air change; from the grid of the roof that allows to filter the sun rays and create many shadded areas; from solar cells to supply the building with energy.

Panoramic terrace

Finally, four fountains allow adiabatic cooling, which is essential in a city where temperatures, in summer, can reach quite high levels and compromise the comfort and well-being of residents and tourists.

The role of the unique urban space of the Metropol Parasol within the medieval historic centre of Seville, allows a great variety of activities, such as the recovery of memory thanks to the Antiquarium, the enjoyment of free time thanks to the squares, the market and restaurants.

All this takes place underlining the importance of being able to enjoy the structure in complete comfort and well-being, so much so that today the Metropol Parasol has become the new reference point for residents and attraction for tourists of the Andalusian city.

Plan, longitudinal section
Archaeological Museum, Antiquarium
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