Recess Week – Study into the Seville Roof

Study into the Seville Roof

To begin, we would like to cite DETAIL inspiration on the webpage titled Technology: Metropol Parasol – a Stroll Above the Roofs of Seville written by Frank Kaltenbach.

Appears to be securing layers of wood together
Appears to be cutting the cross-section to insert metal reinforcements
Appears to be suspending a bigger structure in mid-air to visualise the connection of parts for the standing structure
Building the Seville roof starting from the base of 6 pylons

The Metropol Parasol is described to be huge trees starting from the base of six pylons that extend upwards to merge and join to appear like “parasols” serving as a shady roof in the historic centre of Seville. User spaces are stacked vertically above each other, with an archaeological museum at the basement, a market hall at ground level, and a roof filled with restaurants and bars.

The basement spans 40-metre wide and is contained in a two-storey-high steel Vierendeel frame.

The market hall, that sits above the basement, has a steel and concrete composite roof that extends five metres above ground.

The restaurants and bars sits in a lattice grid of polyurethane-coated laminated-timber sheets at 21.5 metres above ground.

A panoramic route winds through the free form roof and two cylindrical load-bearing concrete towers wrapped in timber sheeting contain lift shafts and support a linking platform where the restaurant facilities are located. The platform is in a reinforced concrete composite form of construction from which the timber lattice grid is suspended. The shafts of the other four parasols and the 11,000 m² undulating roof structure consist almost entirely of laminated-timber elements.

To explain the appearance of the square lattice design by the German architect, Jürgen Mayer H, quoted from review on The Guardian:

The idea of the Parasol was to make shade, a valuable commodity in a city as hot as Seville, and so make the square more habitable.

Continuing our research on the Parasol, we found out that BESISTA® tension rod systems with a durable hot-dip galvanized finish was used to assemble and create the stable structure.

3,600 BESISTA® tension rod systems, with all their high-quality features, blend seamlessly with the structure’s organic forms. Devised by Anton-Peter Betschart, the BESISTA® tension rod system with its consistently supreme standards of safety and reliability vouches for the stability of the filigree assembly. After scooping the red dot design award in 2012, the exceptional design con-cept was nominated for the 2013 Mies van der Rohe Award.

Tension rod system BESISTA with marking of the elements

From the reading, it is apparent that the Seville roof was constructed out of reinforced concrete composite and laminated timber and steel held together by high-performance glue that is tested to be able to withstand the heat of Seville and BESISTA® tension rod systems. We would like to consider similar building materials for our installation and would research more into similar means of construction that would be most suitable for the construction of our installation.

Week 7

Recollecting our Idea


Our installation is inspired from the meaning of Nan yang; derived from the Southern Sea. We want to develop awareness on the school’s heritage by making reference to the origin of the school’s name, represented by a form that is both fluid and dynamic; combining private and public spaces in a seamless transition in a single installation to encourage people in NTU to interact with the installation in both personal and shared ways.

Returning to concept 1 (lighter form) in week 5, we continued to explore the mass and void in a fluid structure to be placed in a natural space within NTU.


From feedbacks received in week 6, we would like to move away from the form of a moebius loop and return to the ribbon form that open and moves. Also, we have decided to subtract any straight folds and corners so as to avoid interrupting the fluid motion of the sculptural installation. We would also like to adopt using different materials/ different construction techniques to reinforce the utilitarian aspects of the installation without compromising on the emotional aesthetics that the sculptural form exude.

Further Developments

Formative references

To give ourselves a better understanding of how to construct the fluid form and integrate different materials into its construction, we draw inspiration from a few existing architecture, installation and furniture works.

Seville roof – Metropol Parasol project in Seville by architectural team of J. Mayer

Incorporation (translating the meaning of fluidity into sculptural forms)


Full gridded sketch model of ribbon form that moves from an open to a closer space shown with two scaled figures
Scaled figures shown interacting with installation – standing and leaning

Making reference to the Seville roof, we developed the ribbon form that begins as an open roof, intended to be constructed in a similar way to the Seville roof, that curves into a closer space (material becomes denser with closed grids to eventually taper and join with the ground).

As a development to the ribbon form, we research on fluid forms by looking at Toyo Ito’s Taichung Metropolitan Opera House, Barkow Leibinger’s Serpentine Summer House 2016 and Zaha Hadid’s Serac Bench. We extended and folded one edge of the curvilinear plane to create a more organic form that incorporates utilitarian considerations for the sculpture to serve both functions as a private and public space.

Developed foam model displayed on the right of its initial form. Exploring different materials for sketch model making – Black foam, Styrofoam, Paper, Aluminium wire (for building armature).
Front view of developed foam model (before addition of grid)

For the construction of the foam model, we thought of making reference to Marc Fornes/Theverymany‘s installation “Minima | Maxima” with the use of aluminium modules or joining wooden plates together in a similar fashion to create the curved surfaces.

Top view
Perspectival view (top down, front)
Perspectival view (top down, back)
Back view
Frontal view of developed foam model with gridded shelter

To emphasize on the personal space within the sculpture, we choose to seamlessly integrate the gridded structure from earlier development into the later development to serve as an open shelter without interrupting the fluidity of the form.

By representing the roof with the uniform gridded form, we want to reinforce the personal space within the installation and encourage our audience in the space to engage in visual meditation with the gridded shadow and its illuminated square voids casted upon him by the natural light. We hope that the user can focus on his consciousness as he meditates in the circular void sheltered by the square grids to achieve inner peace.

In a more symbolic explanation, the square provides well established boundary lines whilst the circle defines area. While the boundary lines of the square gives the user the feeling of security, its sharp edges and corners is observed by people outside the space as a delimitation, a sign that tells them not to go beyond the lines.

Future explorations

We would like to research in detail to find out which materials and construction methods work best to bring out the fluidity of the form.