I am so pleased to be included in this big, new beautiful book on the work of the Berlin-based architecture firm J. Mayer H. und partners.
My essay focuses on Metropol Parasol, the redevelopment of the Plaza de la Encarnación in Seville, Spain, as a public space of political contestation, occupation, and social gathering, including its articulations between city and countryside, urban and rural. Here is the concluding paragraph:
While claiming the status of being one of the largest wooden structures in the world, Metropol Parasol is not a built structure—an architecture—with the aspiration to unify, totalize, and wholly encompass some image of the world, as in Noah’s Ark. Which is also to say that it might be understood less in terms of mega-structures [which since the inception of this aspiring word in the early-1960s has been primarily about size], and more as something gigantic [which is about scale]. And as Susan Stewart illustrated years ago in her beautiful meditation, the gigantic is our scaled measure to landscape. By making gigantic mushrooms [parasols, setas, parásitos] grow in the middle of the city, and thereby creating a place irreducible to any notion of context, and uncontainable by any single structure [mega or otherwise] Metropol Parasol offers a sense of what it means to occupy the world. The political-ethical task is nothing less than that gigantic.