the metal panels descend in tints that vary from white through a range of blues. From the bottom, panels of orange, fuchsia, and red (inspired, Bouanha says, by the pink-tinted pinnacles of nearby Montserrat) rise to meet the veils of blue. Impishly, blotches of red spread amid the upper-level fields of blue; a lightening-bolt of yellow appears as if by accident; squares of green seem to grow near the shrubbery wrapping the base.
In Agbar, Nouvel abandoned the acres of gridded glass that are the signature of skyscraper office towers. Instead, he opened only about a fourth of the panels in an apparently random pattern as red-trimmed windows (in clear glass, except for a few tinted with integral film to enrich the palette). Another remarkable aspect of the design is that those windows are punched out of a continuous exterior concrete bearing wall that rises almost the entire height of the tower.
A layer of glass louvers covers the tower. Fixed and untinted, each glass blade is ceramic-fritted in dot patterns of a wide range of densities. The colored panels blur when seen through this varying glass scrim, which is why the surface seems to possess an indeterminate depth and liq-
The rows of fixed, clear-glass, ceramic-fritted louvers that cover the tower hang from a framework (right) 27 inches outside the building envelope—making room for maintenance walkways floored in an openwork grille (opposite). The louvers add a liquid surface effect to the colored wall panels, dramatically enhanced by lighting at night (above).
2. Glass-and-metal curtain wall
3. Exterior concrete bearing wall
4. Cantilevered concrete floor
5. Steel-beam floor
6. Core concrete bearing wall
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