Is This The Best Concert Hall Ever Built?

The opening is in January, but there’s a way to get in early

By Athena Wisotsky

 
Is This New Concert Hall the World's Best?
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22 July 2016

The Hamburg skyline has been getting a slow but dramatic makeover for the past decade. That’s how long the the Elbphilharmonie concert hall has been under construction, but come January they’ll be cutting the ribbon and throwing the first event in the new space (opening day tickets haven't gone on sale yet, but tickets for future dates are already available).

Image via Thies Rätzke

The massive building is the work of world-famous Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron, known for their attention to detail and innovative use of material (aka Swiss craftsmanship in general, we think). How does that approach translate to this project?


Image via Thies Rätzke

First, the exterior: The form of the building was inspired by sports stadiums, ancient theaters and tents. Yes, camping tents. The geometry is all designed with acoustics at top of mind. The brick base is actually a warehouse from 1875 that was destroyed in WWII, restored, and extensively renovated yet again in preparation for this project. Now this historic port locale is experiencing a new life once more with the completion of this gorgeous anchor building.


Image via Maxim Schulz

The futuristic glazed facade on top is actually made up of 1,100 glass panes, individually shaped “to millimeter precision,” and treated to prevent overheating.


The plaza, image via Oliver Heissner

The space that connects the old and the new is called the “plaza”, made from 250,000 custom-made clay bricks, and it will be opening this November to the public. From it you get panoramic views of the city.

The inside is just as impressive as the outside: the structure houses three concert halls, a 250-room hotel, and 45 private apartments. The grand hall’s seashell-pattern “white skin” wall treatment is the result of extensive research into materiality and acoustics, and is designed to optimize the sound and carry it to every seat in the house.

Image via Oliver Heissner

Overall, the place is so nice it might even get us to listen to classical music. 

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