The Elbphilharmonie // Hamburg // Germany // Herzog & De Meuron

On January 23 the Lord Mayor of Hamburg Ole von Beust and the architect Pierre de Meuron presented the Hamburg Philharmonic Hall. Curious to find out more, some six hundred visitors were enticed to the ‘e-werk’ site. Once again the visitors’ huge response was an indication of the fascination and enthusiasm the Hamburg Philharmonic Hall is conjuring up, far beyond the city of Hamburg as well.

//The Hamburg Philharmonic Hall
In the guise of the Hamburg Philharmonic Hall, Hamburg is acquiring a new and impressive concert house, one that seems destined to house one of the world’s ten best concert halls.
This should be an outstanding location for performing classical music as well as jazz, world music and pop music. The Hamburg Philharmonic Hall will become a new landmark for the city and, at the same time, a place for everyone. The new building complex will comprise three concert halls, a hotel with an international conference area, apartments, a plaza at a height of 37 meters, a wellness area, a nightclub and a large number of parking spaces in the Warehouse (quayside warehouse). The complex was based on designs by renowned Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron.

//The Plaza
In addition to the three concert halls, the Plaza also forms the heart of the Hamburg Philharmonic Hall. It will resemble a market place where concert-goers and casual passers-by, residents of Hamburg and tourists can meet. The outdoor terraces offer a unique panorama with views of the city centre to the North, HafenCity to the East, and the Elbe and the harbour to the South and West. There is hardly anywhere else in Hamburg where the relationship between the city and the harbour can be seen in such an impressive way. The interior of the Plaza is dominated by the curved ceiling with its varying geometrical shape. It affords spectacular views of the city and the harbour. Deep recesses are cut into the building above the Plaza, offering varied views between the Plaza and the different levels of the foyer. On the Plaza itself, there are a number of restaurants and bars, and also the entrances to the hotel lobby and the residential complex. Sculptural staircases lead to the foyers of the Philharmonic Halls.

//The Brick
The brick used for Warehouse A probably comes from the Bunte Kuh brickworks in Lübeck. A small amount of dark fired brick was mixed into the bright red-blue colour of the brick. The brick (normal size 24×11.5×7.1cm) is distributed randomly, which has the effect of increasing the monolithic character of the warehouse. The appearance should remain the same after conversion into part of the Hamburg Philharmonic Hall. The Plaza will be laid out with paving clinkers the same colour as the existing bricks, as a type of flooring. The bricks for the facades are laid horizontal, and in the middle of the Plaza in the area of the new market hall, the warehouse’s different angles and geometric shapes meet and form an interlocking wall.

//The Foyer
Visitors can reach the foyer of the large concert auditorium by passing through the staircase sculpture below the auditorium. The foyer spreads out upwards to the facades and leads the visitor further and further into an unmistakable architectural landscape. A sweeping three-storey staircase leads up from the Plaza to the level of the small auditorium, which is a completely separate area with its own infrastructure.

//The Large Auditorium
The Hamburg Philharmonic Hall aims to be one of the best concert auditoriums in the world. It will be an outstanding venue for classical music, as well as jazz, world music and Pop. The large concert auditorium, with approx. 2,150 seats, will take pride of place in the Hamburg Philharmonic Hall. It does not follow the orthogonal concept of a so-called shoebox stage. The orchestra and conductor are situated in the centre and the audience seating sections rise up in interlocking irregular terraces to form a steep-sided cauldron. Light is reflected from the bright surfaces. The reflector in the sharply pointed ceiling is a striking feature. It ensures outstanding acoustics and is also part of the lighting system.

//Acoustical Consultants
The acoustic of the grand auditorium hall has been designed in collaboration with Yasuhisa Toyota, Company Director of Nagata Acoustics, whose many notable projects have included Suntory Hall in Tokyo and Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

//The Reflector
The reflector, hung on the ceiling which points sharply upwards, is a striking feature of the large concert auditorium. It further optimises the acoustics and also forms part of the lighting system.

//The Facade
The new building is a resplendent glass body, whose surface is formed differently in certain sections. The single-shell glass facade thus shows the three internal uses of the building. In the hotel, the air vents become wave-like hatches, while the balconies of the apartments, horseshoe-shaped recesses in the glass, guarantee spectacular views, protection from the wind and lateral ventilation of the connecting rooms all at once. The concert auditorium, which faces inwards, shimmers with its amber-coloured foyer through the glass wall. A grid of white dots will also be printed on the facade to provide protection from the sun. The density of the grid will be individually calculated, with the aid of a computer, so that each room has appropriate protection depending on its function.

//Time Schedule
The Europe-wide tender to find an investor ended in the autumn of 2006. The Senate’s former project coordinator, Hartmut Wegener, will recommend that the Senate and the city parliament of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg choose the investor/bidding consortium IQ² offering the most favourable proposal for the city. The building application will     be submitted as soon as the contract with the investor has been finalised. The demolition of the warehouse has begun in April 2007. The entire building is planned to be finished in 2011. The inauguration of the Hamburg Philharmonic Hall is scheduled for Mai 2012.

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17 Responses to “The Elbphilharmonie // Hamburg // Germany // Herzog & De Meuron”

  1. Esme says:

    I can’t wait. It looks amazing. There’s a slight update:

  2. [...] As for the city getting involved, forget it.  Hamburg would rather sink untold millions into the bottomless pit of taxpayer dough called the Hamburg Philharmonic Concert Hall. [...]

  3. [...] and de Meuron are working on at least one museum in mexic, the elbphilharmonie in hamburg and vitra haus in Weil am [...]

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