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Torre Agbar: A Quirky Addition to Barcelona’s Skyline

Love it or hate it, the cylindrical shaped 144 meters tall Torre Agbar or Agbar Tower, completed in 2005 in Barcelona’s undeveloped Placa de las Glories district, is the frequent subject of conversation in this Catalan capital city. Designed by French, avant-garde architect Jean Nouvel as the headquarters for Aguas de Barcelona, a local water company, the Tower with its bright shimmering hues of reds and blues is a prominent feature in a cityscape already known for its eccentric modern architecture.

The Exterior - The first thing one notices about the Agbar Tower is its unconventional shape: it’s a towering narrow, circular bullet shaped building that the architect Nouvel describes as “a fluid mass that bursts through the ground like a geyser…” Others have referred to its shape as that of a giant pickle, in reference to a similar shaped building in London dubbed “the gherkin.”

Once you get past the unique shape of the Tower, the colorful shimmering façade of the building demands further attention. Nouvel designed the Tower using Gaudi’s method of concrete, load bearing walls based on the psychics of the inverted catenary’s curve. The exterior is coated in a thin sheet of gleaming aluminum that gives off multiple hues of blues and greens. A top skin of thousands of panels of opalescent glass acts to further illuminate the underlying layer of bright aluminum. Numerous red-framed windows with moveable louvers dot the exterior with additional bursts of color.

The Interior - Nouvel designed the Tower to be spacious and open without the use of columns taking up valuable space. His ingenious use of moveable louvers on the windows control the build up of heat in the building to keep it cool. Perhaps the best feature of the interior is the addition of brightly colored cabinets that line the walls of each room, extending the exterior theme of color.

Nighttime Illumination - The tower puts on a nightly light show spectacular for the appreciative residents of Barcelona. Lighting artist, Yann Kersalé designed the lighting scheme by adding 4,500 LED lights in various shades of pink, purple, yellow and blue to the daytime red and blue shell. The LED lights are computer programmed to display an evening symphony of lights and colors, which dance along the exterior of the building.

Where is Torre Agbar: Avinguda Diagonal close to Placa de les Glories Catalanes

How to get to Torre Agbar: By Subway – Line 1 to Glories Station

Agbar Tower Barcelona

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