Restoration of the Besòs Water Tower in Barcelona

European Heritage Awards

Europa Nostra Awards 2021

History and evolution of Besòs Water Tower 1880-82.

The rehabilitation of the Water Tower 2010-14.

Constructive characteristics

Unique building that shows the quality of the industrial architecture of the 19th century.

Knowledge of the materials and traditional techniques of Catalan architecture.

Structures designed and executed from solid brick face to face in buttresses and enclosures.

Use of the Catalan vault in the formation of interior and exterior stairs.

Pere Falqués i Urpí (1850-1916)

He obtained the title of architect in 1873. He was municipal architect of Sant Martí de Provençals and, later, in 1889, of the city of Barcelona, in competition with his friend Domènech i Montaner, a position he held until 1914. He was president of the Association of Architects of Catalonia from 1899 to 1900. He collaborated in the Universal Exposition of 1888, where he designed the Palau de les Ciències and the Palau de l’Agricultura. Later, in 1889 he won the competition to remodel The Plaza de Catalunya, eliminating the buildings that had been chaotically installed since the demolition of the walls.

The works began in January 1880, a few months before the establishment of the Company, as expressed by the commemorative plaque originally placed at the top of the tower, just at the exit towards the exterior staircase that contours the first and only built tank. [1] The first works consisted of the realization of the two catchment wells and the gallery that communicated them, while the tower was being built. The chronicles of the moment echoed both the size of the work and the rhythm in its execution. Unlike the Deposit of the Parc de la Ciutadella by Josep Fontseré i Mestres (1872), where mamposteria had been used in the interior filling, the Torre de les Aigües del Besòs was built using only the solid ceramic brick, both in the structural cylinder and its inner buttresses and in the Catalan vaults that make up the stairs and the interior landings. This interior structure, in the words of Xavier Camps, managing director of the company, “it freatures a set that seems to be formed by a combination of strong columns inters filed by robust massifs of compact bases and offering a development of curves, gauchas or besaland surfaces, wich at the same time contribute to the greatest posible solidity, they take away in some way the elegance and slenderness of the construction».

Highlight the typological, formal and compositional quality, the result of the design of the architect Pere Falqués, who is able to combine the function and the form with incorporation of enriching elements in its aesthetics, such as the frieze where the word «Besòs» is inscribed made of solid brick with glazed face.

«The project is a multidisciplinary work»

ANTONI VILANOVA Architect and Project coordinator

«We designed a concrete roof that folds»


«Has it’s own life that must be visible»

JOAN OLONA Architectural Technologist

«Very important archival and historical research»

MERCÉ TATJER Geographer and historian

The Water Tower is an outstanding reference in the history of Poblenou, Sant Martí and the city of Barcelona.