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

by Jane Kitchen | 14 Jul 2015

Starwood Hotels is opening the Westin Hamburg next year in the highly anticipated Elbe Philharmonic complex. The 10-storey, 205-bedroom Westin Hamburg Hotel, designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, is due to open in October 2016.

The Elbe Philharmonic complex, built around a historical warehouse on the banks of the river Elbe and also designed by Herzog & De Meuron, will include three concert halls, 45 private apartments, and a 4,000sq m (43,055sq ft) publicly accessible plaza with a 360-degree panoramic view of the city.

Roeland Vos, president, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa & Middle East, said the company is “honoured to be a part of such a significant cultural project.”

The centrepiece of the Elbe Philharmonic complex is a world-class concert hall at a height of 50 m (164 ft) with seating for 2,100. The audience is seated on all sides of the stage, with seating rising up in interwoven tiers, similar to the terraced planting of vineyards. Acoustics specialist Yasuhisa Toyota developed a special material, known as the White Skin, to ensure the acoustics are perfect. Made of 10,000 gypsum fibre panels composed of a mixture of natural plaster and recycled paper, the design also means that the walls and the ceiling merge into one another, so that they like a single piece of skin.

The former warehouse that the complex is build around, known as the Kaispeicher A, was designed by Werner Kallmorgen. It was constructed between 1963 and 1966 on the site of the original neo-Gothic Kaispeicher, built in 1875 and almost totally destroyed in World War II.

The Kaispeicher A was completely gutted and renovated as part of the project, and will house the spa facilities and conference rooms of the hotel. The entrance to the former warehouse will be reached via an 82m (269ft) escalator with a concave arch, so that its end cannot be seen from the beginning, immersing visitors in a glowing spherical tunnel, and will also include glass sequins that reflect and refract the lights to set the mood for the ambience of the building.

Set in contrast to the original brick facade of the Kaispeicher A below, the glass facade of the Elbe Philharmonic complex, completed in January 2014, consists of 1,100 individual panes, each measuring 4-5m wide and more than 3m-high. The windows were shaped with millimetre precision and then marked with small basalt grey reflective dots that prevent the structure from heating up in the sunlight, while at the same time creating a shimmering effect that changes as it catches different reflections.

The viewing plaza lies at the junction between old and new – at the top of the Kaispeicher A, and beneath the new iridescent building. The hotel lobby, a cafe, and access to the foyers of the new concert halls are also all located there.

The 7,000sq m (75,347sq ft) roof consists of eight spherical, concavely bent sections that form an elegantly curving silhouette, and also include 6,000 giant sequins, which add to the shimmering effect.

The Westin Hamburg will target both business and leisure travellers., and will include a Westin WorkOut fitness centre, an indoor swimming pool, and a 1200sq m (12,917sq ft) spa.

While the hotel is due to open in October 2016, and the public plaza will be accessible from November 2016, the Elbe Philharmonic will be officially inaugurated on 11 January, 2017.

Starwood Hotels is opening the Westin Hamburg next year in the highly anticipated Elbe Philharmonic complex. The 10-storey, 205-bedroom Westin Hamburg Hotel, designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, is due to open in October 2016. The Elbe Philharmonic complex, built around a historical warehouse on the banks of the river Elbe and also designed by Herzog & De Meuron, will include three concert halls, 45 private apartments, and
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The Westin Hamburg will open next year in the highly anticipated Elbe Philharmonic complex / Elbe Philharmonic
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