Montjuic Telecommunications Tower
Barcelona, Spain
1989 - 1992

Photos courtesy Santiago Calatrava archives


The Montjuic Telecommunications Tower, rising to a height of 136 meters, dominates the main group of sports facilities on the slopes of the Montjuic in Barcelona; the site of the 1992 Summer Olympic Games.

A competition entry for Telefonica, the steel tower is sited immediately next to the Palau Sant Jordi Arena, designed by Arata Isozaki. The tower not only became a symbolic focus to the dispersed Olympic complex but also a landmark for the city.

Leaning gently from a three-point foundation, to coincide with the angle of the sun at solstice, the towerıs feet rest on a brick drum; a requirement of the competition. The drum base features an articulated door, similar to the one Calatrava designed for the Ernstings warehouse (1983-85), that opens like an eye to provide access to telecommunication services. The heel of the tower is supported on a circular shell of white concrete clad in broken tiles.

The tower structure repeats the fundamental geometry of the base to support an annular segment that houses the array of antennas. Emphasizing the vertical, a needle is suspended in the center of the ring.