Numerus Klausus #05: Metropol Para-poli

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“Seville’s flashy new showcase is held together by extra-strong glue – but not quite enough to make its many parts connect.

Oh my God, it’s an icon. How very last decade. Did the city of Seville not get the memo? Big, flashy buildings are out; hair shirts are in. Then again, building projects are slow things, especially when they have hugely ambitious and untried structural ideas. In 2004, when the Metropol Parasol project was launched, and Spain felt flusher than it does now, few were thinking it would open after the country was hit by one of the worst of the European Union’s many financial crises. As it is, like the grandiose new City of Culture of Galicia complex in Santiago de Compostela, it looks like a late work of bubble baroque. (…)

Mayer’s design contributes to the disconnection. It puts too much faith in the power of look and shape, with the result that the appearance of fluidity masks – in fact, assists – a disjointed reality. The magic mushrooms demand both attention and energy: the complexity of the building contributed to its being many years in the making, and at one point it required a cash injection of €30m. The more everyday parts of the building are left looking eclipsed by the spectacles, and exhausted by the effort of achieving it. Which is a shame, as the Parasol is, almost, one of the smarter of the recent tide of iconic buildings.”

— Rowan Moore: “Metropol Parasol, Seville by Jürgen Mayer H – review”  (The Observer, Sunday 27 March 2011)

The original cartoon, in a slightly different fashion, can be found as originally published in the “Klaus Kube” section of Uncube Magazine #11: Charles Correa, edited by Florian Heilmeyer, Jessica Bridger, and Elvia Wilk.

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