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The Green Life: Spain Debuts the World's Biggest Wooden Structure

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April 01, 2011

Spain Debuts the World's Biggest Wooden Structure

Metropol Parasol Urban revitalization projects are getting greener and more creative by the day. This week marks the official opening of the world’s largest wooden structure, a contemporary urban community center called the Metropol Parasol in Seville, Spain.

The city scrapped its original plans to build a parking garage where the graceful 90-foot honeycomb now stands when Roman ruins were discovered beneath the site. Instead, they hired German architecture firm J. Mayer H. to design a project that would revitalize the city's Plaza de la Encarnacion in a way that better reflected Seville’s rich cultural history.

Beneath the Parasol's wooden arches, people entertain themselves in bars and restaurants, a farmers' market, pedestrian walkways with excellent views, and a space for concerts and other public events. Virtually the whole space is open to Seville's mild Mediterranean climate. The remains of that Roman city still lie under the building, with mosaics and other relics found during construction preserved in an archaeological museum.

Using one of the world’s oldest building materials in a novel design (it’s made from bonded timber held together with glue), Metropol Parasol conveys a sense of light and open space that seems welcome in its urban setting. It’s slated to be fully completed and open to the public in May.

--Zoë J. Sheldon

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