Even when it is often assumed:
Jean Nouvel’s new offi
ce tower in the Catalan
capital received its name
not from the Arabian ruler.
‘Agbar’ is nothing but an
acronym for ‘Aguas de
Barcelona‘, the municipal
The designers would like the structure to be understood as a symbolic ‘fountain’ from glass, light and air.
Of course, the Barcelona inhabitantssaw this diff erently:
Since the commencement of works in 2002 they accompanied the building with partially amused, partially
aff ronted comments on its phallic shape.
The parallels to the “erotic gherkin” of SwissRe by Norman Foster are unmistakable and may even
Diff erent to this building Jean Nouvel’s tower on Avenida Diagonal unfolds a play with light refl ections in all colours of the rainbow.
Façade modules from varnished corrugated aluminium sheets in 25 colours form the inner façade layer; glass lamellas with four diff erent degrees of transparency, which are attached externally with various
inclines and angles, let the tower seemingly ‘spray sparks’ in the sunlight.
The lighting atmosphere in the interior is decisively defi ned by the small windows, which cover the entire façade irrespective of the storey heights like an abstract pixel pattern.
Their light is replicated in the refl ective fl oor and ceiling panels or is, like in the entrance area, softened by