New Skyscraper in Bilbao
Text: Elisabeth Adam
Next to the Guggenheim Museum at the waterfront of the river Nervión rises the highest building of Bilbao, the Torre Iberdrola. The tower was designed by the Argentinian architect César Pelli, who is known for designing some oft he world`s tallest buildings, as the Petronas-Towers in Kuala Lumpur.
Architects: Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, New Haven
The Torre Iberdrola anchors the new Plaza de Euskadi on one of the city’s most important avenues, near the point where it crosses the River Nervión. The 41-?story glass tower is the focal point of Bilbao’s Abandoibarra development, for which Pelli Clarke Pelli designed the master plan. The development revitalized an industrial, mile-?long portion of Nervión, reconnecting the 19th- ?century city to its historic waterfront. The development includes the well?-known Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.
The tower’s triangular form is derived from three segments of a cylinder tilted gently toward one another. In plan, the shape resembles a chevron, but with one side, the back, shorter. The two longer sides form a prow that points down the avenue into the city, a gesture that is amplified by a sculptural glass and steel base.
The Torre Iberdrola is the first tower in Europe to achieve LEED Platinum precertification, the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest rating in sustainable design. To achieve this certificate, a wide array of green-?building strategies was used.
The concrete from an existing train yard was reused, and recycled fly ash was specified for much of the remainder. A continuous loop of 30°C water runs through the building to assist in heating and cooling, depending on the season and time of day. Most significantly, the Torre Iberdrola has a highly efficient double-?wall glass façade. Reversing the conventional configuration of such walls, the permeable wall is on the inside so cool interior air can circulate through the cavity between the walls, drawing heat up and into the ceiling plenum, allowing the building to capture heat and take advantage of it as circumstances determine.