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One of the iconic symbols of Barcelona, in addition to the historic Sagrada Familia, is the modern outline of the Agbar Tower which is illuminated at night, filling the city's skyline with its brilliant colors.
A lot of people confuse this with the "Gherkin" in London although the Agbar Tower is younger than its English sister and its shape is more rounded. However, it has a very similar nickname. Can you guess what it is?
The Agbar Tower is located in the district of Sant Martí and was built in 2005 as part of the upgrading and modernization of the area. The French architect, Jean Nouvel, designed it with some inspiration from the outlines of Montserrat and in the shape of a water geyser rising to the sky. This is the third highest building in the city, only surpassed by the skyscraper of the Hotel Arts and the Mapfre Tower (the two "twin towers" that look out to sea). The interior of the tower is not open to tourists except for the lobby area where there is a small souvenir shop. However, it is still worth seeing from close up which you can do by getting off at the Metro stop at Glories (Red Line L1) so that you can admire the building and its panels which are switched off during the day. Visiting the area around the Tower will enable you to discover a part of Barcelona that you may not be familiar with: its most modern and metropolitan district with the shopping center of Les Glories, the large companies that are based in the skyscrapers along the Diagonal (which is where the Tram passes) and the wonderful neighborhood of Poblenou which, via La Rambla, leads to the sea. You will bump into men in suits and ties as well as people who are out jogging and you can relax in the Park del Centre de Poblenou which you will come across as you walk along the Diagonal. Something else which you shouldn't miss is the Mercat dels Encants, which is just a short distance from the Agbar Tower and is a bustling market that is held on Saturday mornings. You'll be able to find a wide variety of things to buy here including antiques, bicycles, modern technology and all sorts of things you didn't even know you needed!
The building has a floor space of 30.000 m² which are used as offices, 3.210 m² for services and technical installations and a further 8.350 m² for different kinds of facilities, including an auditorium. The Tower is 144 meters high with 38 floors, 4 of which which are below ground level. The Agbar Tower has 4,500 luminous devices that use LED technology and enable the creation of illuminated images across the whole of the building's exterior. The skyscraper is illuminated every night at sunset until midnight on week days and until 1 am at the weekends. The best way to see it is from the Mirador del Carmel.
The skyscraper has external temperature sensors that automatically regulate the opening and closing of the building's glass shutters which results in a reduction in energy consumption for the air conditioning systems. Due to its particular shape which is somewhat phallic, it has been given a somewhat bawdy nickname by the locals who call it "the cock."