All about Torre Glories (Agbar Tower) in Barcelona
PLAN LIKE A PRO THE INTERIOR VISIT OF THIS AMAZING BUILDING
Besides Sagrada Familia, if there’s a building that really stands out in the Barcelona skyline that is the Torre Glories (also known as Torre AGBAR). A high sky scrapper with a rounded top that reminds people of a bullet, a cucumber or… things I can’t mention in a post for all public ages. It is located in the Plaça de les Glories Catalanes (hence its current name), which Ildefons Cerda planned to be the center of Barcelona when the Eixample development plan was presented, and now is a complex crossroad that the Barcelona council has been trying to pacify for ages.
It was originally commissioned to the French architect Jean Nouvel by the Aigues de Barcelona holding to be their iconic headquarters. The acronym of the holding is AGBAR, so the tower was originally called "AGBAR Tower". The construction took between 1999-2004. The water company of Barcelona occupied the building for just over a decade, until it was sold in 2017 to the real state company Merlin States, that continued to rent the space for office use. In 2022 the top of the tower was opened for visits as a vantage point.
The Torre Agbar building
Despite the many nicknames that people has given to Torre Glories due to its “inspiring” shape, its creator Jean Nouvel states it’s supposed to look like a geyser, as a tribute to its original owners, the water company. He’s also acknowledge the influence of the shapes of the Sagrada Familia towers as well as the mountain of Montserrat. Its circular floor plan was choosen to avoid having a main façade, facing instead all the neighborhoods around it.
The exterior of the building is a double façade: an outside a shell of glass blinds, and only separate from it by a maintenance passarelle, the colored aluminium wall with more than 4.500 openings. The glass blinds incorporate sensors that detect temperature, light levels, wind and other weather variables. A special software regulates their degree of inclination to maximize the comfort inside the building, as well as to make a more efficient use of energy.
Torre Glories inside visit tips
How to get there & visit tips
- It is obvious, but avoid if you suffer fear of heights.
- Check the restrictions for the Clouds Cities Barcelona installation: it is not for kids under 12yo, pregnant ladies and people of a variety of physical conditions. The rest of the visit is entirely accessible.
- No need to arrive earlier than 10 minutes before your entrance time: they won’t let you in anyway.
- Keep your ticket until you leave the building: you’ll be asked to re-scan it on your way out.
- Avoid visiting during the last of their opening hours: they typically start telling people to leave around 30 minutes before closing. You don’t want to feel rushed or constantly annoyed by the staff and the PA messages.
While the building is still mostly used for office purposes, in 2022 a vantage point has been opened to the public. The access for visitors isn’t through the main door, though, but via a glass cube located in one side of the tower. Your visit will take you first to the basement, where you’ll walk through the space called “Hyperview Barcelona“: a combination of 4 art installations that use video, photography, big data and museum-like displays to introduce you to the many sides of Barcelona.
Next you’ll proceed to take the elevator to the 30th floor – the Observation Deck. It’s the highest 360º view you’ll get over Barcelona, at 125m/410ft of height. Sure, La Pedrera, the deck of the Las Arenas mall and the rooftop of the Barcelo Raval hotel also offer 360º views, but they are definitely not as tall – click here for more places to see the city views.
The dome of the observation deck is decorated with a walk-in sculpture by Tomas Saraceno: “Cloud Cities Barcelona“. If you’ve paid the combo ticket, you’ll be able to enter it and follow a fascinating one-way itinerary through a honeycomb of ropes and plexiglas platforms that evoke how our actions affect the entire community.
What else to see in the area
Where to eat nearby
Agbar Tower light show
The AGBAR Tower lits up every night, 7PM to 11PM in the winter and 9PM to 11PM in the Summer. It displays a combination of red, orange and blue colors that evoke a geyser, but the colors don’t move: they stay still. The tower can be seen from many points in the city, but if you decide to see it from closer, make sure to approach it from the side of the Disseny Hub Museum.
In the plaza between this museum and the Encants flea market you’ll find the installation “BruumRuum“: LEDs inserted in the pavement that illuminate depending to the ambiance noise detected by sound sensors. It’s the perfect complement to the AGBAR tower lights!
Besides this, the Torre Glories offers special light shows on particular dates, local festivities, the Llum BCN festival in Februrary, or even New Year’s Eve.
More Torre Agbar facts
- The Torre AGBAR is often compared to Norman Foster’s 30, St. Mary Axe in London, also known as “The Gherkin”. Both buildings were built quite simultaneously: the London one between 2001-2003, and the Barcelona one between 199-2004. The London building is higher, featuring 180 metres (591 ft) of height, whereas the Barcelona one is 144.44 m (473.88 ft) because the city council woulnt’ allow it to go higher, despite Jean Nouvel original plans.
- Twice (2006 and 2007) the building has been climbed by a peace activist called Alain Robert to gather attention about the situation of Lebanon.
- The Aigües de Barcelona company trademarked the name “Torre AGBAR” as an alcoholic drink brand, but it’s not been used as such (it might just be they wanted to prevent other companies from using it).
Will you visit the Glories Tower in Barcelona?
Marta is the founder of ForeverBarcelona. She is a passionate tour guide that loves Barcelona and loves writing too. She is the main author of our Blog, and is committed to sharing her knowledge about Barcelona and her best tips with our readers.
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