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Torre Agbar

Barcelona, Spain
Year completed


According to Jean Nouvel, the shape of the Torre Agbar was inspired by Montserrat, a mountain near Barcelona, by the shape of a geyser rising into the air. Jean Nouvel, in an interview, described it as having a phallic character.[6][7] As a result of its unusual shape, the building is known by several nicknames, such as "el supositori" (the suppository), "l'obús" (the shell) and some more scatological ones.[6] It is also somewhat similar in shape to Sir Norman Foster's 30 St. Mary Axe in London, often called "the Gherkin". It has 30,000 m² (323,000 ft²) of above-ground office space, 3,210 m² (34,500 ft²) of technical service floors with installations and 8,351 m² (90,000 ft²) of services, including an auditorium. The Agbar Tower measures 144.4 m (473.75 ft) in height[8] and consists of 38 storeys, including four underground levels.

Its design combines a number of different architectural concepts, resulting in a striking structure built with reinforced concrete, covered with a facade of glass, and over 4,500 window openings cut out of the structural concrete. The building stands out in Barcelona; it is the third tallest building in Barcelona, only after the Arts Hotel and the Mapfre Tower, both 154 m (505.25 ft).

A defining feature of the building is its nocturnal illumination. It has 4,500 LED luminous devices that allow generation of luminous images in the façade. In addition, it has temperature sensors in the outside of the tower that regulate the opening and closing of the window blinds of the façade of the building, reducing the consumption of energy for air conditioning. It houses the head office of the Aigües de Barcelona Group, the water supply company of Barcelona.

The construction, as explained by Nouvel himself was strongly influenced by one of the most representative symbols of Catalan culture. On one side was inspired by the work of Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí reference to the bell towers of the Sagrada Familia and based in turn on the idea of the Hotel Attraction, a course project by teacher Reus in 1908 for some employers hoteliers New York which was redesigned in 1956 by his disciple Joan Matamala which in 1978 were included in the book Delirious New York of Rem Koolhaas, a reference for many architects. In addition, as a tribute to the Sagrada Família, the north side of the tower was designed with the intention of obtaining an optimal view of the temple. In turn, Nouvel was inspired by the distinctive pinnacles of Montserrat mountain range - of great significance for Catalonia, the location of the shrine that houses their patron saint, Our Lady of Montserrat.

In the design of the Agbar Tower, Nouvel said he rejected the prevailing opinion in North America of what a skyscraper should look like, hence the phallic shape. It is the architect's intention give the impression of land that is emerging in a special way out of the ground. The use of the tower by a water utility company, led him to the design from a metaphor of a geyser sprouting from the deep sea. Wikipedia

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Interior | Built
Exterior | Built
Exterior | Built
Interior | Built
Exterior | Built
Exterior | Built
Exterior | Built