Conceived thirteen years ago by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie concert hall has had a tumultuous history that has seen delays, litigation, and rising budgets. Better days are now on the horizon, with a grand opening concert planned for January 11, 2017. When the first musical notes are played within the hall, they’ll have 10,000 acoustic panels ensuring perfect sound quality.
In advance of the first concert, the public plaza located 120 feet above ground level—between the historic brick base and sleek new glass construction—has opened. Free to the public, the plaza was conceived as an outward compliment to the insular world of the concert hall beneath it. The plaza is accessed by a 269-foot-long, curved escalator and affords panoramic views of the city and harbor; its opening is a triumph for all involved, as it marks the beginning of a new era on Hamburg’s cultural landscape. The sculptural glass structure—fitted with 600 curved glass panes—curves upward to asymmetric peaks, like frozen waves. Its windows illuminate beautifully in the evening, as it seems to glow from within.
In addition to the concert hall, the complex houses a restaurant, luxury apartments, and a five-star hotel complete with a fitness center and restaurant, making it a true hive of activity. With the final price tag cashing in at around $870 million—ten times the original budget—the world will be watching to see how the incredible journey of this architectural masterpiece ends.
All images via Iwan Baan