Palm Frond Facade Acts As Curtains For Barcelona Hotel [Pics]

Palm Frond Facade Acts As Curtains For Barcelona Hotel [Pics]

The unique result redefines green building.

Rachel Pincus
  • 26 february 2014

‘Green building’ can mean different things to different architects, but in Barcelona, the site of Gaudí’s wild innovations, it sometimes seems as if anything could bloom. Architectural photographer Roland Halbe recently captured a unique take on new challenges to be environmentally conscious as integrated into Barcelona’s rich architectural history. The Renaissance Barcelona Fira Hotel, completed in 2012 by Ribas & Ribas Arquitectos and Jean Nouvel, offers a unique take on the recent trend of botanical buildings by responding to the the plants’ natural beauty with windows and other features that echo their shapes. The plants that wind along its exposed staircase have a unique partnership with its outer facade, allowing light to shine through differently at different times of the day. Thus the building, despite standing at more than 300 feet tall, has a unique way of blending into the surrounding streetscape. The architects have stated that the building’s vertical gardens create a “living element in permanent transformation” through the unique play of light.

There’s function behind that form, though. The bright white color of the tower’s outer facade on the south, west, and east elevations helps reduce solar heat gain due to the building’s greater exposure to the sun on those sides. Meanwhile, the north facade has a matte black finish to absorb as much solar radiation as possible during the short time of the day that it is exposed to the sun. The junior and deluxe suites also employ this scheme, with the former onyx black and the latter having a white scheme. This creates a more even temperature throughout the building, which no doubt has been nourishing the people inside as well as the plants. The concrete panel behind the building’s glass, palm frond-printed curtain wall also contributes to its energy efficiency. The palm frond shape is echoed in the concrete, creating uniquely shaped windows in the rooms.

A gallery joins the two halves of the building on the 14th floor, as well as a panoramic restaurant, ensuring through social space that the two halves of the building, even united as they are by the vertical gardens, never become estranged. Check out Halbe’s explorations of the unique tower below.


Ribas & Ribas // Jean Nouvel

Sources, Images: Emporis Skyscraper Awards, Designboom


Fitness Advocate: Paving The Future of Workouts With Audio

Fitness & Sport
Brand Development Yesterday

Swipe Left On A Dating World Built To Keep You Single And Disconnected

Hinge's VP of Marketing Karen Fein tells us about the service's daring ditch of the swiping culture that's designed to attract advertising revenue, not meaningful connections

Arts & Culture Yesterday

Marvel Comic Tells The Story Of A Heroic Syrian Mother

Madaya Mom is the true tale of a family trapped inside a town for over a year


Get PSFK's Related Report: Innovation Debrief: Boston

See All
Retail Yesterday

Brooklyn Cafe Lets Customers Pay By The Hour, Not By The Cup

Glasshour is an establishment that provides free coffee and pastries and charges for the time guests spend there

Technology Yesterday

Electric Spoon Changes The Way Food Tastes

The Taste Buddy is being developed to manipulate your taste buds and make everything more delicious

Related Expert

Tikva Morowati

Experience Designer, Product Strategist

Travel Yesterday

Bike Path In Poland Can Glow For 20 Years Using Solar Power

Cyclists can follow the shimmering blue lanes for better safety each time they ride

Technology Yesterday

Open-Source Toolkit Lets Communities Build Their Own Street Furniture

The Wikiblock database contains 30 blueprints of different neighborhood fixtures including benches, bus stops, and kiosks

Food Yesterday

Tiny Pub Only Has Space For Three People

Make Time For It is a small London pop-up bar that encourages conversation without the distraction of technology


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed Yesterday

Community Builder: How to Hack Slack

Claire Wasserman, Founder of Ladies Get Paid, describes how she's using an internal team communication tool to build a network of thousands

PSFK Labs october 21, 2016

PSFK Picks: Top 5 Performance-Enhancing Wearables

Our new report looks at innovations pioneering the future of performance through intelligent activewear and predictive analytics

Advertising Yesterday

This Beer Was Brewed Just For Scotch Drinkers

Highland Park Scotch Whisky & Sixpoint Brewery have teamed up to create two limited-edition pairings for New York City boilermakers

Mobile Yesterday

Let An AI Librarian Help Sort Your Digital Bookmarks

A new app uses machine learning to help organize your virtual life

Mobile Yesterday

Pizza Hut Tattoo Lets You Place An Order From Your Body

The latest gimmick from the fast-food chain is a tattoo-like sticker that lets customers get delivery with a simple tap on their arm

Travel Yesterday

Reinvented Bicycle Inspired By Supercar Design

The yellow bike based on a Lamborghini has sharp edges and an aluminum alloy frame

Health Yesterday

Health Platform Gives Perspective On Your Weekly Habits

Gyroscope is a new wellness app that works by amalgamating data about your life into beautifully designed visuals

Beauty Yesterday

Korean Beauty Brand Uses VR To Let Customers Pick Their Ingredients

Innisfree created a unique experience for its Shanghai Disneyland customers with a virtual reality trip to select what goes into their purchase

Arts & Culture Yesterday

3D-Printed Creations Resemble Floating Paper Outlines

Japanese design firm Nendo's exhibition features works that look like sheets of material being folded, torn, and crumpled

Technology october 21, 2016

Concept Camera Designed To Only Take Unique Photos

Camera Restricta is tool that prompts photographers to only capture one-of-a-kind images

No search results found.