Barcelona is not only one of the most visited cities in the world, it is also one of the most photographed thanks, among other things, to the fascinating buildings that it hides in its streets. And we are not just talking about modernism, or Gaudí, but also about iconic buildings in the city that do not receive the same number of flashes on a massive scale, but are still visited by avid architecture lovers.
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The Glòries Tower, formerly known as the Agbar Tower by Jean Nouvel was constructed between 1999 and 2005. It is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular buildings in Barcelona. It is 140 meters high and at night the building is illuminated with LED lights in many different colors. One of its attractions is the variable lighting of its façade, which can sometimes become a real spectacle. The building has been used as offices for the water supply in Barcelona and it is expected that it will become a luxury hotel in the next few years.
It is one of the most famous buildings in Barcelona, and one of the best known in the city internationally. The most attractive thing about the building is its exterior, with a chromatic play between blues and reds on its facade that has two skins, a first one with glass of different opacities and the other with colored plates. Glòries Tower is one of the tourist attractions that cannot be missed in any architectural tour of the city – in fact it is literally difficult to miss seeing it because it stands out so much against the horizon. But try and get a bit closer.
The Telecommunications Tower
This massive 136-meter tower located in Montjuïc, is a structure as unique as it is aesthetically beautiful. The construction of this masterpiece was by request of the Telefónica company to broadcast the television coverage of the 1992 Summer Olympics. Inspired by an athlete holding the Olympic Flame, the tower has not only become an iconic representation of the Barcelona Olympic Games, but also a landmark for the city. Due to the orientation of the tower, it also functions as a giant sundial, which is used by Europa Square to indicate the time.
The architect, Santiago Calatrava, achieved recognition in Barcelona with this wonderful communications tower. The first drawings and sketches by Calatrava’s hand reveal that the inspiration comes from a kneeling woman. The base of the antenna can be seen as a tribute to the local architect Antoni Gaudí. It consists of a mosaic of broken tiles in the style of Gaudí’s so-called trencadís that are found in many of his works. The communication tower changes in perspective from different angles, so when you visit, be sure to walk around it.
Porta Fira Hotel
The Hotel Porta Fira was designed by the internationally renowned Japanese architect Toyo Ito and with this design it was awarded the Best Skyscraper of 2010, granting it the First Emporis Skyscraper Award in this category. It is 113 meters and 26 floors high, and due to its irregular shape on the facade, it is perceived differently depending on the point where we look at it. Two styles have been used for the façade, on the one hand the “red” skin is decorative and gives it a peculiar appearance, and on the other behind it there is a second skin made from aluminum and glass that meets the acoustic and functional needs of the building and those inside it.
Together with another neighboring skyscraper, the Realia BCN Tower, they form the complex known as Torres Fira, which is located in l’Hospitalet de Llobregat, in Plaza Europa. The buidlings contain a hotel and offices and despite the clear contrast between the two in terms of form, the relationship they establish is harmonious and complementary. The buildings (each 110 m high) are connected by a common atrium.
The Golden Fish
This big fish was designed to shine, like a fish moving underwater. Designed by Frank Gehry, the golden fish is 56 meters long and 35 meters high, giving the impression that it wants to jump into the Mediterranean Sea over whose blue waters it rises. The structure is a sight from far away, you can see it from all the way down the Barceloneta beach and the Olympic Port. Once you arrive however, you discover that the fish is hollow, making it a shock to some true architect lovers.
The Peix d’or as it is known in Barcelona was designed for the Barcelona Olympic Games of 1992. The structure is right in the middle of the Olympic Village on the seafront. The sculpture shaped from a great golden framework of fine lines of stainless steel supported on a metallic structure. It’s a soft and subtle shape, marked by the intensity of its golden color. The sun is reflected on the golden scales of this fish-shaped sculpture that visually imposes itself on the profile of the Olympic port and the beaches of Barcelona.
The W Barcelona Hotel, located at the new entrance to the port of Barcelona appears as a modern icon rising above the Mediterranean Sea, and is the symbol of this new area of high-end shops, offices and entertainment venues. It’s a beautiful building that houses one of the best five-star hotels in Barcelona and rises skyward from the port in the southern part of Barceloneta. The building resembles a sail, hence the nickname “Hotel Vela” and hence the comparison with the famous Burj Al Arab in Dubai.
The architect of this masterpiece is Ricard Bofill, who has risen quickly in the world of architecture. The five-star hotel has 473 rooms, 67 suites, a rooftop bar, a large spa, indoor and outdoor pools, various food and beverage concepts, including the Eclipse bar on the 26th floor, and the Bravo restaurant on the first floor and a retail store. The reflective silver glass façade blends in with the colors of the sky and the sparkles of the sea.
So, if you’re an architecture lover you will definitely enjoy the unique proposal the city offers. Through the architecture of Barcelona you will delight yourself in its culture, through its most iconic structures. And to complement such an activity you can also enjoy our Historical eBike Tour. Don’t miss out!