Agbar Tower (page 1 of 3)

Jean Nouvel

Distant views of unique skyscraper

Although this 38 story tower (4 stories are underground) has the verticality of the usual skyscraper, in no way is its shape usual. The only parallel is Sir Norman Foster's so-called Gherkin in London (30 St Mary Axe) which opened a few years earlier. Nouvel claims several inspirations for the building's shape: the bell towers of Sagrada Familia, by Barcelona's favorite son, Antoni Gaudi, the jagged mountain of Montserrat near Barcelona, and the form of a geyser rising upward. (See Nouvel's explanation of the building.)The phallic shape of course has led to numerous nicknames, some pretty off-color. For about a third of its height the building's sides are straight, but at the 15th floor the building begins to curve; then the 26th through 32nd floors are within the dome at the top.

The third tallest building in Barcelona, it is the home of the headquarters for Aguas de Barcelona (Agbar),the municipal water supply company of Barcelona, which occasioned the metaphoric shape of a geyser. It has more than 300,000 square feet of office space (above-ground) as well as service areas and an auditorium.

The reinforced-concrete structure has a multi-colored facade of aluminum panels, behind glass louvers. See below.

A reinforced concrete structure, covered with a facade of glass, with more than 4,500 window openings in the concrete

The glass has different opacities and the aluminum is different shades so that the building's color is altered, depending on the time of day.

Details of the facade

Temperature sensors regulate the positioning of the louvers, thus making the building more energy efficient.

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© 2010 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.