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Torre Agbar

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18-Jul-2011
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
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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.
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