Torre Iberdrola is the crowning point of the Abandoibarra development, which stretches from the tower to the Guggenheim Bilbao and includes projects by several of the world’s great architects. The elegant 41-story glass tower is the first tower in Europe to achieve LEED Platinum certification, the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest rating in sustainable design. Pelli Clarke & Partners designed the district’s master plan, which replaces outdated train yards and reconnects historic Bilbao to its waterfront.
An anchor to a new revitalization
The tower is the focal point of Bilbao’s Abandoibarra development and is the one vertical element in the composition, anchoring a new plaza, the Plaza Euskadi, on one of the city’s most important avenues, near the Nervión River. The tower’s graceful 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 diagonal Elkano Avenue into the city, a gesture that is amplified by a sculptural glass and steel base.
Pioneering sustainability leading to new milestones
When the LEED program began in 1998, our sustainability aspirations during the design process grew to shape the tower into an exemplary sustainable model and a reflection of Iberdrola's environmental goals, utilizing the site’s significant visibility throughout the city. To achieve its LEED Platinum rating, a wide array of sustainable strategies were incorporated into the building’s design. Most significantly, Torre Iberdrola has a highly efficient double-wall glass façade. Cool interior air circulates through the cavity between the walls, drawing heat up and into the ceiling plenum, allowing the building to recapture heat from its exposed areas and delivering it to where the demand is highest. A continuous loop of 30°C (86°F) water runs through the building to assist in heating or cooling demands, depending on the season and time of day. Potable water consumption is reduced by 40 percent over that of a conventional building by using highly efficient fixtures, minimizing the irrigation, and implementing a system for filtration and reuse of graywater.
More About the Project
- William Butler, AIA, LEED AP ↗
- Axel Zemborain
- Ileana Dumitriu
- Carlos Rodriguez Gimenez
- Rose Martin
- Architect of Record: Ortiz León Arquitectos
- Structural Engineer: Buro Happold, IDOM
- MEP Engineer: Buro Happold
- Sustainability: Buro Happold
- Location: Bilbao, Spain
- Client: Torre Iberdrola A.I.E.
- Size: 581,000 sq. Ft. / 54,200 sq.m.
- Completion: 2011
- Certification: LEED Platinum
- Firm Role: Design Architect
- Principal Project Photography: Jeff Goldberg/ESTO