Elbphilharmonie, from January 2017
Few cities have as many fresh architectural symbols as Hamburg. The new philharmonic or Elbphilharmonie became a symbol of the city even before opening its doors. Now, the time has finally come for the curtain to rise: on January 11, the 2,100-seat auditorium will experience its gala opening concert. The building was designed by Herzog de Meuron and its glass wave is visible from a great distance.
The Elbphilharmonie is on the site of what was once the port’s largest warehouse. The historic Neo-Gothic building was completely destroyed during the Second World War, but was built anew in 1963. It kept its old function even into the 1990s, storing tea, coffee and cocoa.
The former structure is now blended into the new philharmonic, which appears to be constructed on its roof, retaining a simple cubic silhouette. Two seemingly different worlds now come together in a single ensemble – one in weighty brick, rooted into the earth, its piles driven into the riverbed of the Elbe; the other reflecting the sky and the clouds. The new glass wave’s highest point reaches 110 metres, while a panoramic terrace beckons at 37 metres above ground level. With 4,000 m2 of space, the terrace could easily compete with Hamburg’s Rathaus Square.
The Great Hall is acoustically among the best in Europe and is located 50 metres above the water level. The entire project far exceeded its original budget, costing 789 million euros instead of the planned 241 million. Besides the concert halls, the complex includes a hotel and residences.
Platz der Deutschen Einheit 1
Photo: Elbphilharmonie (2015) © Thies Rätzke