Hamburg is home to one of the most astonishing and expensive buildings in the world. The idea to create a spectacular space to bring together the worlds of music, dance and theatre originally started in 2001.
Having been unanimously approved by the city authorities, the construction work for the Elbe Philharmonic Hall got underway on 2 April 2007 with the laying of the first stone, and was completed in 2016, with the official inauguration held on 11 January 2017, 15 years after the original concept for the building was developed.
The building’s impressive vertical structure includes a striking 16,000-square-metre façade—the equivalent of two football fields—featuring glass panels that simulate the waves of the sea. The interior houses three concert halls, conference rooms, a spa, the Westin Hamburg hotel and a group of luxury residential apartments. The concert hall which seats 2,100 people was designed by the team of Swiss architects Herzog & Meuron.
The initial budget allocated for the completion of this building was 77 million euros, but that figure sky-rocketed due to the vast number of glass panels and the difficulty involved in their production, with each panel of glass needing to be printed with metallic particles to prevent excessive heating from solar radiation and improve the building’s energy performance. The panels, each weighing around 1.2 tons, are also hurricane-proof. In the end, the project was delivered at a total cost of 785 million euros – 10 times more than originally expected.
The care and meticulous craftsmanship that went into producing the exterior materials rather outshines the interior spaces and their features, which perhaps do not generate the desired impact, with all the focus on the building’s most expensive element… A true work of art in which culture knows no bounds.