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Elbphilharmonie Hamburg: a Total Work of Art

The Elbphilharmonie with its impressive glass facade and wave-like rooftop rises up from the former Kaispeicher building on the western tip of the HafenCity. Share

After the festive inauguration on January 11th and 12th, 2017, the impressive concert hall is a defining feature of the Hamburg skyline. Accommodated inside are two concert halls, a hotel and residential apartments. Between the old warehouse and the glass structure is the Plaza – a public viewing area that extends around the whole building.

Designed by Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron, the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg is built in a historic location. The warehouse designed by Werner Kallmorgen and constructed between 1963 and 1966 was used for storage of cocoa, tea and tobacco until the 1990s and retains its distinctive structure and characteristic façade. The 20,000 square metre warehouse space, at that time the largest storage space in the city, has been a distinctive landmark since it was constructed.

Elbphilharmonie Hamburg: a Total Work of Art
The Great Hall
Photo: Courtesy of The Elbphilharmonie

The interplay of the archaic Kaispeicher (quay warehouse) with the bold sweep of the glistening glass construction is the Elbphilharmonie’s architectural calling card. The lower part of the building houses a car park, restaurants, a wellness and conference area for the hotel and the Kaistudio (quay studio), a concert hall for 170 visitors.

In the upper part of the building there are two concert halls in addition to the hotel rooms and 45 private residences: The Great Hall with its 2,150 seats in a ‘vineyard architecture’ style is the heart of the Elbe Philharmonic. It stretches from the 12th to the 17th floor and is acoustically isolated from the rest of the building. The small hall with 550 seats will be used for chamber music and jazz concerts, banquets and receptions.

In the Kaispeicher, the old part of the building, are rooms for music education with the “tingling museum”, gastronomy, storage and rehearsal rooms, parking lots and the conference and wellness area of the hotel.

Elbphilharmonie Hamburg: a Total Work of Art
Glass Facade
Photo: Courtesy of The Elbphilharmonie

The glass facade is the defining feature of the Elbphilharmonie: 1,000 curved window panels, tailor-made to capture and reflect the colour of the sky, the sun’s rays, the water and the city, turn the concert hall into a gigantic crystal. The glass facades in the loggias of the apartments and concert foyers are especially striking: with their boldly convex form they resemble huge tuning forks.

Visit the Elbphilharmonie –

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