Jean Nouvel’s Torre Agbar, Barcelona

Posted by // November 10th, 2012 // Architecture No Comments »

Torre Agbar is a skyscraper in Barcelona, Spain and was built at a cost of €130 million. Named after its multinational corporation owner Grupo Agbar, it stands at 144 metres with 33 storeys above ground and is primarily used as a office block.

Torre Agbar, Barcelona
Source: Soroll

It was designed by French architect, Jean Nouvel, who is famous for his many futuristic buildings which include the Koncerthusen (Copenhagen), KölnTurm (Cologne) and Dentsu Building (Tokyo). Inspired by Montserrat (the mountain near Barcelona, not the Caribbean island), Nouvel used the metaphor of a geyser rising from the ground the describe the shape of the Torre Agbar. Some locals have nicknamed the building ‘l’obús’ (the shell) and Nouvel has since designed a similarly shaped building in Doha, the Burj Qatar, which was completed in 2010.

Torre Agbar, Barcelona
Source: Miguel Carminati

The façade is made up of several layers which help to create its unusual exterior appearance.
Polished aluminium covered in clear glass sits underneath over 4,000 windows with louvres that automatically tilt thanks to sensors that regulates the internal temperature.

Torre Agbar, Barcelona
Sources: Antoni63

At night the building is lit up by 4,500 LEDs which can change colour using cutting edge technology and generate an unlimited range of images. The lighting system was designed by Yann Kersalé, the French artist who is known for light installations.

Torre Agbar, Barcelona
Source: PixelManiatiK

The building was finished in late 2004, some five years after construction started and was officially opened by the Juan Carlos I, King of Spain, in June 2005. It has been compared to Sir Norman Foster’s ‘Gherkin’ building at 30 St. Mary Axe, London which opened in April 2004 despite construction only starting in 2001.

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