Wonderful Barcelona and the Torre Agbar

The Design Museum in Front of the Torre Agbar at Placa Glories

Wonderful Barcelona

We are falling in love with Barcelona! The air here is clean and sweet. So far in May, the weather has been pretty much perfect sunny and warm.

The people are friendly and courteous, even though it seems that few speak English and our Spanish is not very conversational.

The roads are in good condition and the only grafitti we see are on the roll down metal shutters that provide security for closed shops. The architecture here is stunning with three major styles, medieval/middle ages, renaissance and modernism, delightfully blending together. Modernism, as exemplified by Gaudi and others is Barcelonas take on art noveau.

There is an abundance of cafes with sidewalk tables. We could sit at a table for hours with a single order of carbonated water costing us only 2 euros. More often we choose sangria, wine or beer for not much more. Most cafes offer tapas which are small plates of a variety of different dishes. Many are surprising, most are yummy - typical price: 3 or 4 euros unless you order something expensive like a plate of shrimp.

The transit system is simply excellent. The metro offers clean modern stations with clearly posted directions and elevators in addition to escalators. The trains are also clean and modern and someone always offers us a seat. No grafitti is seen in either stations or cars.

While the metro is swell, we prefer buses because they offer us a little tour of the city in addition to getting us where we want to go. Near our apartment are several bus lines that very often go where we want to go.

Torre Agbar

"This is not a tower. It is not a skyscraper in the American sense of the expression: it is a unique growth in the middle of this rather calm city. But it is not the slender, nervous verticality of the spires and bell towers that often punctuate horizontal cities. Instead, it is a fluid mass that has perforated the ground - a geyser under a permanent calculated pressure.

The surface of this construction evokes the water: smooth and continuous, but also vibrating and transparent because it manifests itself in coloured depths - uncertain, luminous and nuanced. This architecture comes from the earth but does not have the weight of stone. It could even be the faraway echo of old formal Catalan obsessions, carried by a mysterious wind from the coast of Montserrat.

The uncertainties of matter and light make the campanile of Agbar vibrate in the skyline of Barcelona: a faraway mirage day and night; a precise marker to the entry of the new diagonale that starts at Plaa de las Glorias. This singular object becomes a new symbol for an international city." (a quote by Jean Nouvel, who along with Fermn Vzquez were the buildings's primary architects)

The Torre Agbar (Agbar Tower)is the third tallest building in Barcelona. It was was constructed from 1999 through 2004. The Tower's phallic character suggests a number of odd nicknames including "el supositori" (the suppository).

The Tower 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. One of the holdings of the group is Aguas de Barcelona, Barcelona's water company.

"The Tower has 323,000 ft of above-ground office space, 34,500 ft of technical service floors with installations and 90,000 ft of services, including an auditorium. The Agbar Tower measures 473.75 ft in height and consists of 38 stories, including four underground levels." (Wikipedia)

Covering the tower are 4,500 glass panels that can open and close like louvered windows which aids in ventilating the building. Each panel can be made to look blue or red by computer controlled lights.

At night the tower is illuminated in blues and reds. Special light shows of blue and red are often displayed on holidays. Messages for example "World Water Day" are scrolled around the cylinder on some occasions.

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