Porta Fira Towers by Toyo Ito
and b720 Arquitectos


Japanese architect Toyo Ito and b720 Arquitectos of Spain have completed two adjacent towers in Barcelona containing a hotel and offices.

Called Porta Fira Towers, the two buildings are linked by a common atrium.

The hotel is contained in a distorted cylinder, expanding towards the top and clad in red metal panels.

The office building is a rectangular volume with a glass curtain wall and red motif running through the centre.

Photographs are by Filippo Poli.

Here's some more information from b720 Arquitectos:

Porta Fira Towers

Hotel and offices building in the Plaza Europa. Barcelona

Designed by the Japanese architect Toyo Ito and b720 Arquitectos, lead by Fermin Vázquez, the uniqueness of the large architectural project proposed has as one of its priorities to respond to the environment and exploit its strategic position. Located between the airport and the city of Barcelona, the Porta Fira Towers intend to become the gateway to l'Hospitalet de Llobregat and the city of Barcelona.

The project consists of two towers that perform a subtle dialogue between them. The hotel (PB +25), is designed to turn on itself changing its perception as it is surrounded. Its skin is made of a system of red metal tubes placed with a certain inclination. This perception is complemented by the second tower, which will house offices (PB+22). A pure volume at the first sight, with a glass curtain wall, but the core of which also turns red on itself, becoming, in this way, a reflection of the hotel tower. Between the two towers, and connecting it, there is a common atrium.

Its unique appearance, along with its 110 meters in height and the total gross floor area of 80,108 m2 of the two towers, turned the project into one of the new milestones in the new Plaza Europa, in the town of L'Hospitalet de Llobregat and a clear reference in the Barcelona’s skyline.


The project consists of three main uses: hotel use, office use and commercial use. The various uses are distributed as follows:

  • The hotel program was introduced in 28 plants spread over PB+25 and two technical floors and a gross floor area of 34,688 m2 in which are located approximately 344 rooms and 2 technical floors. The remaining space is distributed in a hall, a large banquet area, restaurant, conference and services areas (back/front office y bach of house).
  • The offices program office, distributed in PB+22 and two technical floors, distributes and open floor plans of great structural light in a gross floor area of 45,420 m2.
  • The commercial program is located within the parcel for offices, on the ground floor, building the façade that defines the park and closing the commercial ring Plaza Europa.

Location: Plaza Europa. L’Hospitalet de Llobregat. Barcelona.
Gross Floor Area: 80.108 m2
Architects: Toyo Ito (ITO AA) and Fermín Vázquez - b720 Arquitectos
Project: 2004-2006
Execution: 2006-2009

Posted on Wednesday March 3rd 2010 at 11:56 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • angry catalan

    Silke: While I agree this has a somewhat Corbusian geometry, within the context of Spain, Barcelona’s reputation is rather northern: factories, serious people, architects and designers, people unwilling to spend money, social confrontation, ironic humour, rational and slightly cowardly people (there’s even a word for this: “seny”, which means something like “being sensible” in the sense of not hot tempered and it’s the word most associated with Catalans in general), Expressionism – in short, it’s “THE industrial metropolis” all countries have. In fact arch schools in Catalonia are extremely critical of this kind of free-hand projects, and architects such as Gaudí or Miralles are studied from a rational point of view: structures and geometry in Gaudí, context and influences in Miralles… also, bright colours are atypical for Mediterranean architecture, which is usually the colour of materials or just painted in off, slightly dark, colours (in fact white architecture, while existing in other places of Catalonia, Italy, etc. did not arrive to Barcelona until modernists such as Sert introduced it!)

    Some sort of red-light, mock-Latin Barcelona does exist but please realise that locals feel rather unconfortable with it, to the point that it’s a big issue in local politics – what to do with the Rambla, how to make locals feel attached to the old city again, how to avoid the same thing happening to the Eixample district… also think that the complex the two towers are in is a whole neighbourhood meant for business and trade fairs, not unlike the German “Messe” complexes, definitely not a fun place.

    Please don’t take this as stupid national pride, I’m just trying to provide some context if it’s helpful (maybe it isn’t – and I’m pretty sure some people disagree with me :))

  • angry catalan

    Here are some pictures of the context. I did NOT take them, but I don’t know who the autor is, so I hope they don’t get angry!


  • aloysiusgriffin

    Silke – “This kind of project suites Barcelona city- its south , hot tempered and fun place!”
    This may be one of the most superficial arguments have been given to justify the construction of this complex. The people of Barcelona (and most of Spanish) are tired of the clichés so archaic that you give us, and as you said angry catalan, Catalans are characterized by a more European mentality, more rational. You cant justify a building with such trivial arguments, Toyo Ito has screwed up as he did with the luxury apartments in front of La Pedrera, seem to be unable to see beyond the skin of the building and the city.

    Angry catalan, me ha gustado lo que has comentado acerca de miralles y gaudi

  • holloway

    Barcelona is locating the worse buildings of the star system architects, h&deM, nouvel, chipperfield, zaha is threatening, and so many others… so the disgrace comes also from the short-minded promoters, politics (ops… but is a democratic system, isn’t it?) and city planners , that are imposing at the same time the worse of the urban strategies through an american car-based city model in that area and the last soulless developments around the forum, forgetting about the mediterranean culture. I’d cut their hands for that.
    See also the horrid airport and more speculative projects in the waterfront. I thought there was a left-wing government in the city but it seems more like a lobby on behalf of capitalism and the architects friend of- brother-in-law of, son of a…
    what do the schools of architecture there say about that? probably nothing, as most of professors have something to do with that shit, whilst they pretend to be open-minded and contemporary. Bastards.
    good luck to the city, needs a revolution or will be over.

  • vahid emamjomeh

    a new perception of the hotel subject,3d facade,even my 2 year old son loves the bulding specially the hotel,i like it!

  • yrag

    “two towers that perform a subtle dialogue between them.”

    I think it’s more a shouting match about which is the more garish and FUGLY.

    But I think there’s no contest— It’s BIG RED.


  • cacas

    put in your ass. the 2 of them… this way it will get atention.. wtf@#$%

  • batavia

    i hate it at first….but it start to grow on me…… has a picturesque quality to it…. need a few moments to appreciate it

  • Archpinho

    This is a work of art!! And dont think any of you can design any better than this!! Stick with your cubes losers!!

  • Devin

    I am studying architecture in Cape Town, South Africa and I did a project that was in the end very similar in many of it's ideas as this one. Many similar problems arose, how to make a formalistic building contextually appropriate, How to relate it to a neighbouring tower in height, proportion, formal dialogue. People judged it the same, some slated it as above and some loved it. At the end of the day people in general judge formalistic buildings like first glance at people: she's pretty and she's ugly. If any architects have advice for me I am rethinking my project please drop me a line I'll be happy to send some images.