Torre Agbar

Torre Agbar, BARCELONA, Spain, Jean Nouvel Atelier, B720 Arquitectos
Address: Avda. Diagonal 211 | BARCELONA | Spain
Latitude/Longitude: 41.4038, 2.18937

“This is not a tower. It is not a skyscraper in the American sense of the expression: it is a unique growth in the middle of this rather calm city. But it is not the slender, nervous verticality of the spires and bell towers that often punctuate horizontal cities. Instead, it is a fluid mass that has perforated the ground – a geyser under a permanent calculated pressure.

The surface of this construction evokes the water: smooth and continuous, but also vibrating and transparent because it manifests itself in coloured depths – uncertain, luminous and nuanced. This architecture comes from the earth but does not have the weight of the stone. It could even be the faraway echo of old formal Catalan obsessions, carried by a mysterious wind from the coast of Montserrat.

The uncertainties of matter and light make the campanile of Agbar vibrate in the skyline of Barcelona: a faraway mirage day and night; a precise marker to the entry of the new diagonal that starts at Plaça de las Glorias. This singular object becomes a new symbol for an international city.”
Jean Nouvel

The building

The building houses the new headquarters for Aguas de Barcelona (Agbar), the municipal water company.
The reinforced-concrete structure, crowned by a glass and steel dome, has a multi-colored facade of aluminum panels, behind glass louvers, in 25 different colors.

There are 4,400 windows and 56,619 transparent and translucent glass plates. The louvres are tilted at different angles calculated to deflect the direct sunlight. Elliptical in plan the 31 floors are without internal columns, the perimetric structure and the central concrete core, containing the services and emergency stairwells, are the important elements of the building. Six lift shafts rise up inside the outer walls. 4,500 yellow, blue, pink and red lights, placed over the facade, illuminate the tower at night.

⇒ Architecture Guide to BARCELONA