Nouvel's Torre Agbar
by Katharine Logan
The Torre Agbar, a new tall building from Ateliers Jean Nouvel, in collaboration with b720 Arquitectura, Garcia-Ventosa Arquitectura, and Leopoldo Rodes Arquitecto, thrusts into Barcelona's skyline from the Placa de las Glories, a gritty district that Barcelona's planners have designated "the next big thing," a new center of commercial activity.
The Torre Agbar, writes Nouvel, "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."
What makes it unique are its scintillating surface and radical structure. "The surface of this construction evokes the water," Nouvel says, "smooth and continuous, but also vibrating and transparent because it manifests itself in colored depths — uncertain, luminous, and nuanced." The building houses the new headquarters of Aguas de Barcelona (Agbar), the municipal water company.
Exterior Light Show
The building's enclosure system consists of multicolored aluminum "pixels" — seemingly innumerable — shimmering behind a veil of fritted glass louvers. Color flares over the surface: oranges, pinks, and reds rise hot from the base, cooling through blue into white, and finally fading into clear glazing over the tip. Rogue splotches complete a composition of shifting intensity, luminosity, and depth.
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Torre Agbar, Barcelona's new highrise by Ateliers Jean Nouvel in collaboration with b720 Arquitectura, Garcia-Ventosa Arquitectura, and Leopoldo Rodes Arquitecto.
Photo: Ateliers Jean Nouvel
The tower thrusts into Barcelona's skyline from the Placa de las Glories.
Photo: Iñigo Bujedo Aguirre
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