Jean Nouvel’s Torre Agbar
Blog 7 – Jean Nouvel’s Torre Agbar
Before I get into this building, I’ll provide some background on my “star-chitect” Jean Nouvel. Born on August 12th, 1945, in Fumel, France, he was encouraged from a young age to study math and language for their job prospects, but he became enraptured by art in his teenage years. He later said his family compromised with him, allowing Jean to pursue architecture since it was considered “less risky”. Failing to gain entrance to a prestigious arts school, Nouvel moved to Paris where he won a national competition that allowed him entrance to the school he had been denied from. He then became an assistant to a pair of French architects, who made him a project manager within one year. By age 25, Nouvel was in his own architecture partnership, and he was off to become a key participant in architecture debates within France.
The first building designed by my assigned architect, Jean Nouvel, that I chose for the blogs assignment is the Torre Agbar. It is a 505 ft. tall, 38 story tower acting as a key marker of the entrance to the new technology district in Barcelona, Spain. Funded by Azurelau investment group, construction began in 1999, and it opened in June of 2005 at a cost of €130 million. Later bought by Agbar multinational group, it includes 30,000 offices, 8100 services including an auditorium, 3200 technical facilities, and over 9000 square meters of parking. According to Nouvel, the building is meant to encapture a geyser rising into the air, but the Torre Agbar has several unusual nicknames relating to scat and phallic architecture (warning: those are the nice words for them!). The building is made largely of reinforced concrete with a beautiful façade of glass, and it is currently the third tallest building in Barcelona. Interestingly, Nouvel described the construction as being influenced by “Catalan” culture, i.e. that of Antoni Gaudi and the Sagrada Familia. During the day the building has varying colors of windows with shades of blue, gray, red, and brown. During the night the Torre Agbar is lit up with LED’s, enabling images to be generated on the outside using 16 million different colors. Personally, I find this to be the coolest aspect of the building.