area 100 | changing cities

architect: Jean Nouvel

location: Barcelona, Spain

year: 19982006

It is no tower or skyscraper in the American sense of the term: it is a unique object that emerges from the center of a quite calm city. But it is not a slender, nervous vertical line, like an arrow or like the belfries that generally project from horizontal cities. Rather, it is a fluid mass that cuts into the ground, a geyser with a permanent and carefully dosed pressure. The surface of the building evokes water: smooth, continuous but also vibrant and transparent, because the material reveals its depth, colored and uncertain, luminous and shaded. This architecture issues from the ground, but its weight is not that of stone. Even if it may be a distant echo of old Catalan obsessions carried by the wind blowing from the Monserrat. The irregularity of the material and the light make the belfry of Agbar vibrate against the skyline of Barcelona. A distant mirage, by day and by night. A landmark indicating the entrance of the new diagonal axis of the Las Glorias piazza, a singular object symbolizing the international metropolis..

project: Atelier Jean Nouvel
date: 1999-2005
consulting: Hubert Tonka
address: 211. Avenida Diagonal Barcelone - Espagne
client: Layetana Inmuebles S.L.
engineering: Gepro (fluids) R. Brufau & A. Obiol (structure)
consultants: Alain Bony (façades color study) Arnauld de Bussierre (Façades) Xavier Ferres (Biosca Botey) (Façades)
project architects: Jean Pierre Bouanha
architects: Florence Rabiet, Alexa Plasencia, Emmanuelle Lapointe, Cristina Algas, Julie Fernandez, Francisco Martinez, Pascaline Paris, Elisabeth Farres, Francisco Martinez, Pablo Garrido, Alexa Plasencia, Cristina Algas
graphic: Hiroshi Maeda (Façades) Natalie Saccu de Franchi
quantity surveyor: Argos Management
gross floor area: 47.500 sqm
graphic view: Artefactory
photos: Roland Halbe