Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall – The Shining Edge of the City

After budget overruns and construction delays, one of the world’s most beautiful and ambitious buildings is finally finished. The Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg’s Concert Hall, is  set to open its inaugural season in Germany on January 11, 2017.

Taking almost a decade to complete, construction on the building began in 2007, with the interior furnishings and equipment being installed in late October, 2016. The much anticipated project also boasts a new website offering a virtual tour of the building designed by Herzog & de Meuron.

In total, the complex houses three world-class concert halls, a hotel, 45 private apartments, and ‘the plaza’–a public viewing area with a panoramic views of the city. Located on the banks of the river Elbe, the building is supported by approximately 1,700 reinforced concrete piles. The largest concert hall is a 2,100 seat space positioned at a height of 50 meters and decoupled from the remainder of the complex for reasons of sound-proofing.

About the Building:

Originally, the location was a simple sliver of harbour-side property and the project added a bold addition to the existing warehouse building. The striking glazed façade comprises 1,100 individual panes, each measuring four to five meters in width, and over three meters in height. Most glass panes were separately shaped with millimetre precision, then marked with small basalt grey reflective dots. This prevents the structure from overheating, while simultaneously creating a shimmering effect. the curvature of each pane depends on the particular area of the building on which it is located.

The designers, Herzog & de Meuron, developed the specific surface structure of the walls and ceiling through extensive material research and numerous conceptual studies. The engineered gypsum fibre-board panels are both highly dense and extremely heavy to reflect sound which is then directed and scattered by the countless seashell-shaped depressions milled into them.

“The dissemination of sound in a concert hall is decisive for the quality of acoustics,” explains Jacques Herzog.

“In order to achieve this, the geometry of the room, the materials used and the surface structure had to be perfectly in tune. It is this particular structure and the seamless transition between the walls and the ceiling that lend the concert hall its somewhat natural characteristics.”

Images are © of Designboom and Johannes Arlt

Visit the Elbphilharmonie website, here.

Image credits: Material used in the preparation of this article has been drawn from


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s