I’ve written about the preponderance of Modernist architecture in Barcelona, but how about something even more contemporary? The city is also home to a number of buildings that can be categorised as High-Tech, but perhaps the term Late Modernism is more appropriate here.
The category seems quite loosely defined; being more about the materials used than a common set of recognisable styles. The Pompidou Centre in Paris has little in common with London’s St Mary Axe (The Gherkin) to my eye, however Barcelona’s most outstanding (or perhaps I should say upstanding) example does. Some see Torre Agbar as resembling a cucumber, though it has also been compared to a suppository or maybe a sex toy.
It’s an interesting structure, not only for its appearance, but also for the technology incorporated into its design. Close examination reveals that the glass “skin” of the building is comprised of louvre windows which are automatically opened and closed by temperature sensors to reduce the need for air-conditioning.
Surprisingly as this is the nation that produced Santiago Calatrava, it was designed by Jean Novel, a French architect. I found the tower both fascinating and frustrating. Fascinating in its design, but frustrating photographically. It’s surface so round and featureless giving me little scope photographically – it looked much the same whichever aspect I chose, but that changed when the sun set.
Another of the tower’s features are the 4500 led devices that are capable of instant colour changes. The chameleon effect seems to be saved for special occasions, but even when static the tower demands attention in its nocturnal plumage.
It still looks like a sex toy though!