Hamburg has a new cultural landmark with international appeal: the Elbphilharmonie. The newly designed glass structure rises up from the rugged brick warehouse like a wave of glass.
The modern building complex which extends 110 metres into the sky, opened its doors for the first time on 11 January 2017. It lies directly on the banks of the Elbe, surrounded by water on three sides, and can be seen from all over the city. The Elbphilharmonie was designed by the renowned Swiss firm of architects Herzog & de Meuron. The glass structure with its wave-like top is built on top of a brick warehouse foundation that dates back to 1963.
Hamburg’s highly diverse music scene is famous throughout Germany and beyond. Since the 17th century Hamburg has been attracting music fans from far and wide: the first opera house in Europe was opened there in 1678.
In order to make the new Elbphilharmonie a genuinely public attraction, the building provides not only attractive architecture but also an appealing mixture of urban uses. It contains – in addition to three concert halls – a hotel, restaurants, bars, private apartments and the Plaza. The Plaza is located 37 metres above the ground and serves, so to speak, as a link between the two parts of the building: the old brickware house and the newly built glass structure. This new public space offers unique 360° panoramic views over the port and city.
The centrepiece of the Elbphilharmonie is also currently one of the most exciting structural projects in Europe: a world-class concert hall that is detached from the rest of the building for soundproofing reasons. The Grand Hall is situated at a height of 50 metres above ground level and has seating for 2,100 people. The basic concept of a space in which the musicians sit at the heart of the audience is a consistently recurring theme here.