The Illa de la Llum comprises two towers with a square floor plan, one with 26 floors and the other with 18, that in conjunction with an extended volume that is five floors high, they close off a private site with various facilities for exclusive use by the 230 dwellings. The three constructions respond to similar criteria of function, shape and construction, appropriate in each case to the specificity of each volume, its orientation and relationship with the surroundings. In this text we are going to focus on the analysis of the tallest tower as it is the most representative of the innovations introduced in the project (Fig. 10.6).
It is a tower with 26 floors, 88 m tall, on the seafront in an area that is very exposed to the effects of a marine environment. The square plant has its perimeter
Fig. 10.6 High-rise buildings in a marine environment
altered as the tower gets higher, mainly at its north side. This square plant, with sides measuring 28.5 m, forms concentric rings around a central concrete structure that houses the lifts and staircases. The first ring surrounds this core organising the distribution of the different dwellings that occupy each floor. The next ring has all of the supply and evacuation installations that provide service to the dwellings and that, given their location, are accessible from the corridors. This ring of installations also has the first set of columns that are repeated near the square perimeter, in this case hidden between the elements that close the fa?ade. A cantilever of 3 m compensates the excessive span between columns.
This clear and well-organised layout of the elements that pass through the slab floors vertically enables the liberation of a sufficiently spacious area for the different types of apartments without any fixed elements that limit the layout possibilities. The cantilevers are used as terraces (Fig. 10.7).
The dimensions and distribution of the dwellings was very heavily influenced by the promoter and by the market requirements at that time. The free plant allows easily responding to this market just by changing the distribution. The designed partitions could be considered circumstantial. Despite this almost ephemeral nature of the interior distribution there are aspects of the dwellings that are repeated and respond to characteristic traits of the work of the architects Clotet and Paricio. The position of the living room in the corner, delimited on two sides by large glazed
Fig. 10.7 Adequate use of glazing to create a terrace space
openings that communicate directly with the terrace, prolongs the living space almost to the sea.
At a height of 80 m on the seafront the views are spectacular, but this can also lead to a sensation of vulnerability. Evidently the degree of exposure is not the same as in the Swedish tower by Calatrava in the city of Malmo mentioned at the start of this text, but it is still considerable.
The enormous sliding panels of moving aluminium slats that run along the edge of the cantilever guarantee the sensation of security on the terraces meaning that spaces that could become inhospitable recover the quality and sensuality of the porches and lath houses that are so common in the Mediterranean climate (Fig. 10.8).