Torre Agbar

Torre Agbar

Offices
Barcelona, Spain - Occupied in 2004
Torre Agbar
b720 Fermin Vazquez Arquitectos as Architects

The tower is a ‘small skyscraper’ and has a distinct shape which evokes an incredible fountain with a constant, stable water pressure. The building does not sit at ground level but rather emerges from a water-filled crater. The building features a glass dome at the top, multi-colored walls and 4,500 different-sized windows, to the LED illuminated “breathing” glass shell. The bullet-shaped tower makes a stunning visual impression while delivering top-class environmental performance.


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The Agbar tower is a 35-story, 142 m high “small skyscraper”, located on Plaza de las Glorias in Barcelona. Designed for the acute angle formed by Diagonal Avenue and Badajoz Street, the building’s distinct shape evokes an incredible fountain with a constant, stable water pressure. Coupled with the fact that the building does not sit at ground level but rather emerges from a water-filled crater, this is a very appropriate image for the headquarters of a water company.


Four underground floors occupy the whole plot and provide support functions as well as the parking lot. Structurally, the building is supported by a load-bearing interior core and exterior perimeter. These two concrete cylinders support metal beams which, in turn, support a composite deck of metal and concrete, allowing floors to be free of structural columns. The eccentric shape of the interior core dictates the standard floor plan – office spaces set into the exterior wall, wrapping around the interior lift shafts. The exterior cylinder shoots straight upwards until the 18th floor when it begins curving inwards and comes to a point on the 26th floor. There, a glass dome tops the 142m building. The last 6 floors, cantilevered from the central core, are used for upper management purposes.


The corrugated aluminium plates of the exterior perimeter are lacquered in 25 different colours, from earthy reds to cobalt blue, and appear to form a wall of massive “pixels” that create a calligraphy of irregularly arranged rectilinear window openings. The quantity of window openings on any particular section of the facade is in part determined by the amount of sunlight it receives. The angled disposition and opacity of each individual glass slat that makes up the building’s “second skin” is also determined through a study of the sun, through the rays’ incidence.

Agbar Square
Lamp as Manufacturers

The SMAP light point system by LAMP was chosen for this project as it offers an organic, timeless and contemporary look; warm colour ceramic metal halide lamps, 35W and 70W, with street lens, 5 m, 7 m and 9 m high, provides the level required by law, thus enabling the energy efficiency.


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The aim of the plan for the lighting system in Plaza Agbar is to achieve even lighting in the area surrounding the tower, for safety reasons, without polluting the Agbar tower's own lighting composition. Another aim of the project was for the lighting system to be integrated into the architectural layout and the landscape in the square.


Because the trees are the most outstanding element visually at a low level in the square, and because of the presence of the tower, the lighting system with organic shapes was selected, situated in the parterres between the trees. They form a random composition at different heights along the square, following its winding layout.


This is why the SMAP light point system by LAMP was chosen for this project. Thanks to its organic, timeless and contemporary look, it gently adapts to urban, intercity and residential areas.


Regarding energy efficiency, the warm colour ceramic metal halide lamps, 35W and 70W, with street lens, 5 m, 7 m and 9 m high, provide the level required by law, thus enabling the area to be highly energy efficient.


As it names implies, the new SMAP (Spanish acronym for Sistema Modular de Alumbrado Público), is characterised by being a Modular Public Lighting System. It is not a separate luminaire, quite the opposite, but rather a light point system where luminaires and columns ara harmonically integrated. With no doubt, versatility is SMAP's strong point. There is a wide range of columns, with different shapes, heights and finishes, which enable creating an endless number of types of light points where the optical groups can be individually installed or combined together guaranteeing a high level of vision comfort.


As for technical features, SMAP is characterised by its IP65, models with street and flood optics and a hinge-joint that allows for directing the light flow and preventing light contamination and intrusive light. The power threshold ranges from 35 to 150W with high-pressure halide and sodium lamps and comes in Class II version.


Project credits Lighting designer: Maurici Ginés Lighting studio: artec3 Lighting Design Architect: Fermín Vázquez Architect studio: b720 Fermín Vázquez Arquitectos Development company: Aigües de Barcelona Installer: JX Instal•lacions Year: 2011 Lamp Solution: SMAP

The ultimate protective membrane
ROCKWOOL International A/S as Media

The solar-powered, mechanically controlled glass outer shell was designed to help manage heat buildup and other environmental factors. The inner wall is wrapped in ROCKWOOL insulation.


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Designed by Jean Nouvel, the 38-storey Torre Agbar in Barcelona is one of the great icons of postmodernist architecture. From its multi-coloured walls and 4,500 different-sized windows, to the LEDilluminated “breathing” glass shell, the bulletshaped tower makes a stunning visual impression while delivering top-class environmental performance.


Protecting the building


The Torre Agbar's solar-powered, mechanically controlled glass outer shell was designed to help manage heat buildup and other environmental factors. But Fermín Vázquez and the other architects on his team also needed to adequately protect the building's reinforced concrete inner walls - and the many people that make the Torre Agbar their workplace. That's why the architects chose to wrap the inner wall was wrapped in ROCKWOOL insulation before a corrugated aluminium cladding was applied.


A single solution to multiple challenges


Mr Vázquez says a big part of the job was to "choose materials that solve problems instead of creating them." Made from natural, recyclable stone wool and delivering unmatched protection against extreme temperatures, fire, moisture and even noise, ROCKWOOL insulation is just the kind of protective membrane needed for the complex ventilated facade chosen for Torre Agbar.


"Stone wool was used to wrap around the concrete perimeter as an insulating element," explains Mr Vázquez. "The material was chosen," he continues, "due to its excellent performance outdoors and resistance to ageing, along with its mechanical and thermal advantages."


It's a matter of trust


As the Torre Agbar's glass outer shell "breathes" in response to changing conditions, Mr Vázquez and the other architects who created the building can trust that ROCKWOOL insulation is working in harmony with the ventilated system to ensure comfort, safety and energy efficiency for many, many decades to come.


"Choose materials that solve problems instead of creating them." Fermín Vázquez, architect

Torre Agbar's colour scheme
Axalta Powder Coatings EMEA as Powder Coating

The building is powder coated with Various Alesta® AP High Gloss products in custom made colour shades.


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The Torre Agbar is a 38-story tower located near Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes, which marks the gateway to the new technological district of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It was designed by the French architect Jean Nouvel in association with the Spanish firm b720 Fermin Vazquez Arquitectos and built by Dragados. The Torre Agbar is located in the Poblenou neighbourhood of Barcelona and is named after its owners, the Agbar Group.


The building is powder coated with Various Alesta® AP High Gloss products in custom made colour shades.

Products used in this project
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New York, United States - Planned in 2017
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