Last edited 16 May 2017

Gate of Europe

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The Gate of Europe towers are twin office buildings located in Madrid, Spain. When they were completed in 1996 they were the world’s first inclined high-rise buildings.

American architects Philip Johnson and John Burgee had to come up with a solution to a complex site on one of Madrid’s most important boulevards, the Paseo de la Castellana. A significant setback from the street was required in order to clear a subway interchange.

The resulting structural expressionistic towers are 114 m (374 ft) tall, with an inclination of 15º. They stretch 30 m from their base over the boulevard.

The structural solution involved a 60x10x10 m concrete counterweight located on the opposite side of the inclination under the ground and connected to the top of the tower by cable. This provided the necessary counteraction to the overturning forces.

The building is further strengthened by a primary diagrid of structural steel at the buildings’ perimeters, and a reinforced central core housing the main vertical circulation. Lateral stability is provided by secondary horizontal and vertical structural steel members, expressed architecturally on the facades.

The structure is clad with stainless steel and a dark, reflective curtain wall. The secondary horizontal and vertical members are picked out in red .

The towers are differentiated by the colour of their roof helipads – the west tower’s is blue, the east tower’s is red.

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