Torre Agbar is a colourful 38-story skyscraper located near Plaça les Glòries, right in front of les Glòries shopping centre. The Torre Agbar is the entrance to the new technological district in Barcelona called 22@.
The Agbar tower was designed by the famous architect Jean Novel and it was named Agbar due to its original owners who were Agbar group -water company in Barcelona-, in Catalan Aigües de Barcelona.
The tower was inaugurated on 2005 and Jean Novel's idea about the shape of the tower is supposed to be a geyser rising into the air and they say it was inspired by Montserrat mountain in Barcelona too. The truth is that everybody sees the tower and relates it to a phallic shape, due to that the building is known by locals such as the suppository, the shell, the cock and many more. Jean Novel mentioned that he was also inspired by the bell towers of the Sagrada Família by Antoni mGuadí.
It has something in common with the Gherkin skyscraper located in London by Norman Foster, the shape it is very similar. The Agbar tower is the third tallest building in the city, after the Arts hotel and the Mapfre Tower.
The main attraction of the building is with no doubt its nocturnal illumination. It has 4500 LED devices that generate luminous images on the façade. Apart from the obvious colorful lights the tower also has temperature sensors that regulate the window blinds automatically and reducing this way the energy used through the air conditioning. The light system is capable of creating 16 million colours thanks to its incredible hardware and software, this is one of the reasons the building is considered a high-tech building in Barcelona.
The tower lighting is so popular that is often used to celebrate different events and it dresses up with its best colors for the occasion. Quickly after it was finished, the tower became a big part of Barcelona's skyline and an architectural icon of the city.
Agbar tower curiosities
Since 2006, TV3 the main Catalan television has used the capabilities the special lighting system at the Agbar Tower to show end of year celebrations. The tower is popular enough but it has become a gathering spot on New Year's Eve for locals and visitors.
As a curious note, the tower has been scaled by Alain Robert twice, the first time on 2006 as an action to call peace for the Lebanon and the second time in 2007.