The Montjuïc Communications tower is an iconic tower that was built in 1991 at the Montjuïc Hill , just southeast of the Barcelona city center. The gracious white beacon is characteristic for the architecture of Santiago Calatrava, the Spanish designer of the tower.
Barcelona built a number of structures at the Montjuïc Hill for the Olympics of 1992. One of the most eye-catching is the white slender communications tower that was erected between 1989 and 1991 at the Anella Olímpica (Olympic Ring) – the complex where most of the sports facilities were built – to transmit television coverage of the Olympic Games. The elegant tower soon became a symbol of the Olympics and the city of Barcelona.
The communications tower is also known as the Torre Telefónica – after the company that owns the tower – or the Torre Calatrava – after the designer of the tower, the celebrated Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava.
Calatrava designed a gracious and slender steel tower that soars 136 meters high (446 ft).
The tower is set on a round brick platform which holds the telecommunications equipment. The design of the arched entrance to the platform is based on the shape of a human eye. The base is covered with ceramic shards, a mosaic technique known as trencadis. This technique was often used by the Modernistá architects; examples can be found all around Barcelona and in particular at Gaudí’s Parc Güell.
The pylon, set at an angle of 17 degrees, is connected to a ring-shaped element which holds the transmitting dishes. Like many of Calatrava’s works, the whole tower is sparkling white.
People have compared the structure to an athlete holding the olympic torch, a javelin thrower and a kneeling figure – a testimony to the dynamic nature of Santiago’s architecture.