Agbar Tower

Barcelona (Spain)
AGBAR Societat General d'Aigües de Barcelona, S.A.
Total Area
50.906 m²
Ateliers Jean Nouvel


The striking geometry of this corporate office tower reflects the desire to generate an identifiable urban landmark with a powerful personality that befits its prominent location on the new Plaça de les Glòries square, an area under transformation that will become a new hub for Barcelona. Its 35 levels rise 142 m in height, with a bearer structure consisting of an inner core and an outer perimeter, dispensing with the need for intermediate support pillars on each floor. Construction-wise, it consists of two oval concrete cylinders that hold an orthogonal grid of metal beams to support the floor plates. The outer wall is “pixelated” by a matrix of nearly square modules in which the window voids are distributed. This produces a particular “calligraphy” that is only altered by the occasional convergence of structural stress points, the flexibility of the offices and the sunlight. The varying densities of the wall perforations are proportional to the solar radiation received at each point.
The same concept is employed in the protective metal mesh that envelops the building. It gradually changes colour from reddish, earth-like shades at ground level to bluish colours on the top floors, blending with the sky in an exercise in dematerialisation. The whole building is enveloped by a second skin of glass louvres that nuance the colour of the inner skin and blend with the reflections of the sky and the natural light.
The rapid growth of the enigmatic perforated concrete structure and its mysterious skin initially surprised the people of Barcelona. Not long after, however, the building became one of the city’s most recognisable architectural references, and it is now an indispensable part of any depiction of its skyline.