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Torre Glòries

Barcelona’s Gherkin—and its Mirador

Torre Agbar

Barcelonans call it the 'torpedo', the 'suppository' and any number of less polite names. At 466 ft/142 in height, it certainly makes a statement in this mostly low-rise city.

And since its opening in 2004 the Barcelonans have grown quite fond of it. The Torre Glòries (formerly the Torre Agbar) has become the place where they gather for New Year's Eve celebrations.

Already, this work of French architect Jean Nouvel has become another internationally-known symbol for Barcelona.

As in all Nouvel's work's, there is plenty of sophisticated technology under the skin—and on it. As in his celebrated Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, the tower is surrounded by a latticework of louvres that operate automatically, controlling the amount of sunlight entering the offices

Among the influences for the work, Nouvel cites Gaudí's spires on the Sagrada Familia, and also the peaks of Montserrat. Another influence, naturally, is the fact that this building was designed as the home of the multinational utility company that pumps Barcelona's water. The smooth, shimmering, ever-changing surface of the building is meant to evoke water; Nouvel likens it to a geyser.

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Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Images by Fernando Pascullo, paulgalbraith