'A concert hall that will wow the world' - Herzog & de Meuron's shimmering Elbphilharmonie opens at last

One of Europe’s most significant new cultural buildings will open to the public today (11 January), with a special concert for 1,000 lucky ticket winners.

The Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, by Swiss architecture studio Herzog & de Meuron, is formed of a shimmering glass covered volume – consisting of 1,100 individual panes – sat atop the original brick structure of an industrial warehouse on the city’s harbour-side.

The structure is home to a Westin Hotel, two small music venues and a 37m (121.4ft) high public plaza and observation deck, but the main draw is a new world-class concert hall which seats 2,100 spectators across its interwoven tiers.

The 12,500-tonne venue, which is housed in the heart of the glass volume, rests on 362 giant spring assemblies to decouple it from the rest of the building. It rises 50m (164 ft) and includes a vast organ built into the walls. To ensure acoustic excellence, 11,000 uniquely-textured sound-modulating gypsum panels, conceived with Japanese acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota, have been painstakingly assembled.

Speaking late last year, city mayor Olaf Scholz said: “Hamburg is a city of music, and you could call this its parliament. It is a concert hall that will wow the world.”

Over the years of construction, the building has become a landmark on the Hamburg skyline, inspiring a wide range of merchandise in the city based on the silhouette of the instantly recognisable 7,000sq m (75,347sq ft) roof, which consists of eight spherical, concavely bent sections.

For the next two evenings, spectators who have won tickets in a random draw will get explore the building in full for the first time. They will hear the hall’s resident NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra and a selection of classical singers, including bass baritone Sir Bryn Terfel. Performances will spans across all musical eras, from the Renaissance to the present, culminating in a brand-new commissioned work, created especially for the occasion by German composer Wolfgang Rihm. A live stream of the concert can be viewed here.

Spectators will enter via the building’s elegantly curving elevator, which rises towards the elevated public plaza over the course of two minutes. The idea of the architects was to make sure there are no doors blocking people at any point from their journey from the outside of the building all the way into the concert hall.

“It’s a stunning experience to be in this building,” senior partner Ascan Mergenthaler told CLAD. “It’s like a little city. You literally flow into the building, and the outside world is part of that journey until the very last moment somehow.

Summarising the project, which took over a decade to complete, Mergenthaler said: “It’s very tough building. Timeless is a difficult word to use, but I think this won't go out of fashion, because it was never in fashion. It is what it is. It’s there in the unique location of the harbour and it fulfils this promise to be a house for everybody. That's the most amazing aspect for me.”

The cost of the project was reportedly €860m – over ten times the original budget of €77m, which the architects have conceded was never realistic given the scale of the project.

Related stories

Herzog and de Meuron's sparkling Hamburg Elbphilharmonie celebrates opening of public spaces

Is this Herzog and de Meuron's next masterpiece? Take a flying tour over their Hamburg Elbe Philharmonic building

Westin Hamburg to open in ‘shimmering’ Herzog & de Meuron-designed Elbe Philharmonic complex

One of Europe’s most significant new cultural buildings will open to the public today (11 January), with a special concert for 1,000 lucky ticket winners. The Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, by Swiss architecture studio Herzog & de Meuron, is formed of a shimmering glass covered volume – consisting of 1,100 individual panes – sat atop the original brick structure of an industrial warehouse on the city’s harbour-side. The structure is home to
CLD,ARC,DES
The building is a new landmark on the Hamburg harbour / Thies Raetzke
More news
News stories: 1 - 30 of 6506     
 
 
 
News stories: 1 - 30 of 6506     
 
 
 
company profile
Company profile: Fabio Alemanno Design Ltd
Based on ancient knowledge – and confirmed by scientific research – warmth is one of the most important sources of healing and preventative therapy available.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
features
The two towers that form DUO opened in March
According to Ole Scheeren, the best buildings are the ones that tell us stories
"Economic value can be achieved by a sense of generosity towards the public domain"

The architect behind Beijing’s CCTV Headquarters and the Taipei Performing Arts Center talks form, fiction and fantasy with Kim Megson

Bjarke Ingels
"A unique leisure destination in the Greater Paris of tomorrow"

The key cultural buildings for Paris’s controversial new leisure destination

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
Martha Schwartz: The landscape architect on bagels, climate change and upsetting the status quo
Martha Schwartz
"No one is taking the issue of climate change seriously. Some bad things will have to happen before there is a change"

The outspoken landscape architect on climate change, bagels and being controversial

Local limestone was used in the construction of the hotel’s walls
Matteo Thun leads a design studio of over 70 people, with offices in Milan and Shanghai
"We want a longer life cycle for every product, even if it means business is slower"

Simplicity and sustainability should be at the heart of all design argues the Italian architect

Stacks of cement roof tiles make up the walls of the structure
Mexican architect Frida Escobedo runs a practice in Mexico City
"I hope visitors will find a space in which the passage of time feels a bit hazy — fun yet meditative"

Creating the Serpentine Pavilion

The Perkins+Will-designed National Center for Civil Rights opened 
in Atlanta in 2014
Gabrielle Bullock studied architecture and fine art at the Rhode Island School of Design
"I’m one of 424 black female licensed architects in the US. We represent 0.2 per cent of the profession"

Architects must reflect the world they design for, says Perkins+Will’s director of global diversity

The duo are aiming to work with hotels, resorts and sports clubs
Meis has helped design some of the world’s most successful stadiums
"It’s one of the tragedies of the US that so many of our stadiums get replaced after 20 years"

The Everton and AS Roma stadium architect talks through the challenges and rewards of sports facility design

cladkit product news
Hotel Crescent Court opens new spa following multi-million-dollar renovation
Hotel Crescent Court has reopened its spa after a multi-million dollar refurbishment
Lauren Heath-Jones
Hotel Crescent Court, a luxury hotel in Dallas, Texas, has reopened its spa and fitness centre after completing a multi-million-dollar ...
Ben van Berkel launches UNSense startup to boost health and wellbeing in built environments
Kim Megson
Dutch architect Ben van Berkel and his design firm UNStudio have launched a tech startup to “improve the health and ...
Kvorning wins contest to design aquaculture exhibit at Norway's Coastal Museum
The exhibition explores the history of Norway's fish-farming industry dating back to 1970
Lauren Heath-Jones
Copenhagen-based design studio Kvorning Design and Norwegian advertising agency Vindfang have won a competition, organised by Museums in Sør Trøndelag ...
cladkit product news
London's new pollution-eating living wall has air purifying power of 275 trees
CityTree is a living wall that reduces particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide in the air by 30 per cent
Lauren Heath-Jones
The Crown Estate, a London-based commercial real estate company, has partnered with Westminster City Council and cleantech specialist Evergen Systems ...
Dornbracht debuts Rainmoon wellness shower concept at  Salone del Mobile
Rainmoon is a multi-sensory wellness experience designed to revitalise and reinvigorate the user
Lauren Heath-Jones
Dornbracht, a German-based luxury bathroom specialist, has launched an innovative new shower experience, Rainmoon. Slated as the next generation of ...
Parkside opens flagship Chelsea showroom
The showroom is designed to inspire its clients
Lauren Heath-Jones
Parkside, a designer of contemporary porcelain and ceramic tiles, has opened its first showroom in the UK. Located in Chelsea ...
cladkit product news
Empex Watertoys partners with Singapore architecture firm on new splash park
Buds is a new splash park that caters to children aged 12 and under
Lauren Heath-Jones
Empex Watertoys has partnered with Singapore landscape architecture firm Playpoint Singapore Pte to create Buds, an exciting new splash park ...
Bright Buildings to create UK's first 'open sky' swimming pool
Bright Buildings will create the retractable roof for the Open Sky pool at Ivybridge Leisure Centre
Lauren Heath-Jones
Leisure operator Fusion Lifestyle has announced that it will invest millions of pounds over the course of the next three ...
Carlo Ratti's 'wonder wall' robot could become reality with kickstarter campaign
Unveiled at Milan Design Week, as part of Ratti's Living Nature installation, the Scribit is the result of Ratti's ongoing investigation into and development of writing machines
Lauren Heath-Jones
Carlo Ratti Associatti has developed an intelligent robot capable of writing and drawing on vertical surfaces. Called Scribit, the device ...
x
Sign up with CLAD for regular news updates