The Torre Agbar is a 38-story skyscraper / tower located between Avinguda Diagonal and Carrer Badajoz, near Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes, which marks the gateway to the new technological district of Barcelona. It was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel in association with the Spanish firm b720 Fermín Vázquez 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, a holding company whose interests include the Barcelona water company Aigües de Barcelona.
The tower measures a total of 50,693 square metres, of which 30,000 are offices, 3,210 technical facilities, 8,132 services, including an auditorium, and 9,132 square metres for parking. It cost 130 million Euros to build. It opened in June 2005 and was officially opened by King Juan Carlos I on 16 September 2005. It is one in a collection of High-tech architecture examples in Barcelona.
The building is owned by the multinational group Agbar which has its corporate headquarters in the building and that takes up most of the floors, renting the remainder. The Agbar Tower was acquired in March 2010 for 165 million euro, after reaching an agreement with its former owner, the investment group Azurelau. Azurelau previously had bought the property in mid-2007. The purchase price was not disclosed.
According to Jean Nouvel, Torre Agbar is intended to recall the shape of a geyser rising into the air. It was inspired by Montserrat, a mountain near Barcelona. In an interview, he described the tower as having a phallic character. As a result of its unusual shape, the building is known by several nicknames, such as "el supositori" (the suppository), "l'obús" (the shell) and some more scatological ones.
Its design combines a number of different architectural concepts, resulting in a striking structure built with reinforced concrete, covered with a facade of glass, and over 4,500 window openings cut out of the structural concrete. The building stands out in Barcelona; it is the third tallest building in the city, after the Arts Hotel and the Mapfre Tower.
One of the most characteristic elements of the building is its nocturnal illumination. The tower has more than 4,500 luminous devices that can operate independently using LED technology and enables the generation of images on the outside of the tower. The system is capable of creating 16 million colours, thanks to a sophisticated system of hardware and software. It has the ability to quickly transition between colours which can create a shocking effect.
The unique lighting system of the building, dubbed by its creator Yann Kersalé as diffraction, who defined it as "a vaporous cloud of colour that seeks moiré", is often used in the celebration of various events such as the naming of Barcelona as the capital of the Union for the Mediterranean or the 50th anniversary of Treaty of Rome.