Torre Glòries : a peculiar skyscraper in Barcelona
Have you ever heard that in Barcelona there is a big tower standing out against other buildings like a big bullet?It is the Torre Glòries, both a tower and a skyscraper : a very big building reigning like a king over the city!
It is located in the Poblenou neighbourhood, exactly between Avinguda Diagonal and Plaça de les Glòries catalanes –after which the tower was named- that is to say the border of the new technological district in Barcelona. . Formerly known as the Torre Agbar, its original name derived from its owner holding company : the Agbar Group. Agbar stands for Aigües de Barcelona, literally water of Barcelona, due to the trades including it.
Torre Glòries is one of the most attractive and fascinating high-tech architecture examples in the city. Keep on reading for more details.
Built between 1999 and 2005, the tower was designed by the French architect Jean Nouvel. The construction project dragged on for almost 6 years and it was officially opened by King Juan Carlos I. The entire project of Torre Glòries is focused mainly on two apparently opposite concepts : lightness and solidity. The former idea is visible in the façade made of glass, and the latter in the concrete structure. The glass panels look like a second skin over the building.
Initially intended to symbolize a geyser rising into the air, the Torre Glòries is inspired to some typical Catalan symbols, for example the Sagrada Familia’s bell towers and Montserrat’s peaks.
The Tower and the district
The tower is located in Sant Martí district and it is not possible for tourist to visit the entire building, but the hall, where you can find a little place where they sell souvenirs. Actually it is really interesting to look at its external structure and admire its brightening panels.
If you visit the tower’s neighbourhood you can discover a different aspect of the city you didn’t even imagine : the most modern and metropolitan side of Barcelona. Speaking of, you can see the big shopping centre Les Glories, skyscrapers and headquarters of important companies, the amazing Poblenou district that through is Rambla will let you to the sea. Furthermore crossing the Diagonal –a street passing through the entire city from one side to the other- you will reach the Parc del Centre de Poblenou. Another interesting spot in the city is the Mercat dels Encants : it is placed near the Torre Glòries and there, on Saturday morning, you will have the chance to buy lots of bit and pieces you didn’t even know you wanted to buy!
The entire building consists of 30.000sq.m. mainly used for offices, 3.210sq.m. for services and technical installations and 8.350sq.m. for other purposes, for example an auditorium. The Torre Glòries is 144m. tall with 38 floors and 4 underground levels, 4.400 windows and 56.619 glass walls. It has 4.500 light devices –yellow,blue, red and pink lights- with LED technology which allow the creation of light shows on the entire surface of the building. Every day, at sunset, the skyscraper is brighten until midnight –till 1am on weekends- but the best way to admire it is from Mirador del Carmel, a special place from where you will be surprised by the stunning view of Barcelona.
The Torre Glòries has some sensors used to regulate opening and closure of the windows according to weather conditions. It allows to reduce the energy consumption for the air-conditioning. Furthermore in 2011 the monument received the energy-saving construction price from the European Council, because it is powered with more than hundreds photovoltaic installations.
The underlying walls are painted with more than 40 different shades : going from the grey to the blue, they give to the building the idea of water and you almost feel its depth. In this way the tower changes colour according to season and weather transformations.
Despite the initial critics, nowadays the tower is so popular among tourists that visits –just in the hall!- have become part of everyday tourist life in Barcelona. If you find yourself in Barcelona on New Year’s Eve, don’t forget to take a look at the greatest light show offered in the city : the Torre Glòries will give you magic coloured moments!