Elbphilharmonie Hamburg

Hamburg is building its musical future: The Elbphilharmonie. Even from afar, one can behold the shining glass wave soaring over the harbour – superior architecture that will shape the image of Hamburg internationally.

The Elbphilharmonie not only serves as a beckoning lighthouse for the new HafenCity, but also for Music City Hamburg. The heart of the Elbphilharmonie is the Grand Hall, with a seating capacity of 2,150; it will belong to the finest of its kind. However, the Elbphilharmonie is more than simply a concert house. The Plaza, at a height of 37 meters and which is also accessible to the general public, reveals a spectacular view of the harbour, the city and the people: a house for Hamburg and its citizens. The design, which stems from the architects Herzog & de Meuron, includes a hotel and 45 residential flats. Only here is the Elbphilharmonie conceivable: along vibrating current of the River Elbe, at the converging place where the city meets the harbour. The Elbphilharmonie will be a unifying work of art: an exceptional experience of architecture, music and the direct proximity to the water.


The Elbphilharmonie is created where Hamburg’s heart beats: at the harbour. Here is the pulsating life; here the economic vein meets the spirit of the city; here Hamburg’s gates open themselves up to the world. The Elbphilharmonie, built at the tip of the Sandtorhafen and a stone’s throw away from the HafenCity, will shine out faraway.

The structure subsists on contrast: The foundation is formed from the historical warehouse, Kaispeicher A. The semi gantry cranes are witnesses to the sacks of tea and cocoa, which up until the 1990s were stored here. Above this solid massive base, the undulating crystalline new edifice of the architects Herzog & de Meuron floats. These are the same architects who designed the Olympic stadium in Peking and the Tate Modern in London. The glass façade of the Elbphilharmonie alone is breathtaking – Read more here. Over an 82 meter long, ingeniously curved escalator, one reaches the Plaza on top of the roof of the former warehouse, which is always accessible to the general public. Here, at a height of 37 meters, visitors are presented an impressive panorama view of the city, and at the same time, the open-work structure and galleries afford an extraordinary spatial perspective. The ticket office as well as the hotel lobby entrance and the escalator to the Grand Hall are located in the Plaza. Guests are invited to spend time in the restaurants and bars which are nearby. 

The heart of the Elbphilharmonie is the Grand Hall, which rests upon enormous steel springs at the center of the building – The entire hall is acoustically isolated from the rest of the building. Even the blaring ship’s horn of the Queen Mary 2 cannot disturb a concert. The hall follows the »vineyard principle«, in which seat are arranged and rise up around the orchestra placed in the center. This construct is similar to the Berliner Philharmonie. The task of devising the optimum acoustic was placed in the hands (and ears) of the internationally renowned acoustics specialist Yasuhisa Toyota.

Besides the Grand Hall, there is the smaller Recital Hall with a seating capacity of about 550, which is exactly like the traditional Laeiszhalle. Although it is exceptionally suitable for chamber music, the hall also can accommodate balls and banquets. The Kaistudio, situated in foundation construction, has seating for 150: excellent for experimental music. The red-brick warehouse foundation houses the Klingende Museum, the rehearsal rooms and an underground garage with over 500 parking spaces.

Almost the entire wide building front that faces the HafenCity will accommodate a hotel with around 250 rooms and its grand entrance hall. On the opposite side of the building, in its sharply angular edge, 45 residential flats will be built.

Would you like to know a bit more about our figures? The total floor space, meaning the total square meter of all 26 floors, is approximately 120,000 square meters – That the equivalent of 17 football fields or two-thirds the size of the Inner Alster. With the 18,000 tonnes of steel, with which the Elbphilharmonie was constructed, one could easily build a new railroad line to Hanover. The amount of concrete which was used could fill a massive 40 meter cube. This all comes to an amazing total of 200,000 tonnes; that translates into 400.000 grand pianos or two and a half Queen Mary 2 cruise liners. Or 722 gigantic Airbus A380 aircrafts – however, one single airplane would the cost the city around the same as the whole Elbphilharmonie. In any case, it is reassuring to know that each of the 1,761 underwater reinforced concrete pillars, which bear the Elbphilharmonie, can carry much over 200 tonnes.

As charming as this unique site on the waterfront is, it introduced a demanding challenge for city and traffic planners. Motor vehicles must use the Sandtorhafen drawbridge to reach the Elbphilharmonie. Even though the walking distance from the closest train station, Baumwall (U3), is not much longer than that from Stephansplatz to the Laeiszhalle, the path of the future train station Überseequartier (U4) will provide a wonderful view of the water along the newly redesigned waterfront promenade. Furthermore, public city buses (HVV) are planned to stop directly in front of the Elbphilharmonie. Last but not least, the most stylish mode of transportation in Hamburg is to arrive by the public ferry 62 which terminates directly in front of the Elbphilharmonie.

Description from www.discover-elbphilharmonie-hamburg.com


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