Torres de Hércules by Rafael de la Hoz 17.12.09

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The pattern of the facade spells out "Non plus ultra" (image: Roland Halbe)

"Non plus ultra" or "nothing further beyond" is the message integrated into the ornamental facade of Rafael de la Hoz's Torres de Hércules in Cádiz in southern Spain. British readers might be more familiar with the Latin motto "ne plus ultra" – this is apparently the Spanish version.

The building, two cylindrical 100m office towers connected by glass-enclosed walkways, is trying to be a contemporary landmark in keeping with the history of Andalucia.

"How could you design anything here without looking to the history of the place?" asks architect Rafael de la Hoz. The developer wanted an office building with a small footprint. In building tall, the architect drew on the imagery of the "pillars of Hercules" – the Straits of Gibraltar, which in the classical age marked the end of the known world. "It's a reference that mostly locals will recognise," admits de la Hoz.

The decorative concrete lattice-work, which draws on Moorish designs from the region's Muslim past, is structural, and incorporates a maintenance walkway as well as providing some protection from the harsh Andalucian sun.

Torres de Hércules is the only tall building for miles in an otherwise flat landscape studded with low-rise industrial buildings. To make full use of its glorious position a restaurant is opening next year at the top of the towers, offering a 360-degree view of the surroundings.

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The pattern of the facade spells out "Non plus ultra" (image: Roland Halbe)

 

 Words

Johanna Agerman

quotes story

The building, two cylindrical 100m office towers connected by glass-enclosed walkways, is trying to be a contemporary landmark in keeping with the history of Andalucia.

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