Who knew that one day an old red brick warehouse, built in 1963, would be the foundation of one of the most lavish concert houses in the world. Well somebody in Hamburg did.
After years of issues with building costs and playing the blame game, Hamburg’s most ambitious publicly funded project is almost complete. The giant concert hall is made of glass and steel in the shape of rolling waves to compliment the river Elbe flowing near the base of the converted warehouse by Hamburg architect Werner Kallmorgen. Hamburg’s very own Sydney opera house, so to speak.
Shadowed by internal conflict and money woes the cities architectural landmark has been overlooked for its beauty. Towering over the river the beautiful 2200 seat building reflects the sky light giving it a luminous feel. According to The Independent the 1.3m square metre complex was intended to crown Hamburg’s HafenCity (Harbour City) project – another ambitious scheme begun more than a decade ago which has both modernised and gentrified Hamburg’s 19th century dock area.
Despite its wonderful exterior additional features were added to the original design which had the orchestra seated in the centre of the hall surrounded by the audience. A wave-like, glass facade, with individual panes of different shapes was added. The task of mastering the interior sound structure fell to Yasuhisa Toyota, reputedly the world’s best acoustic designer. The designer had the interior of the hall covered in what is referred to as “white skin” which is comprised of 10,000 differently-shaped plaster-of-Paris tiles that are meant to create near perfect acoustics. Sounds wonderful but the tiles came at costly £12.8 million.
Regardless of the expense it seems to have all been worth it. The buildings final design consists of three concert halls, a hotel, apartments, and a public square elevated 37 metres above the river. This magnificent building is not just a tourist attraction – it will also be a unique venue for classical music, jazz, pop and world music. Even though it still hasn’t been completed the building hasn’t failed to draw interest with 30,000 visitors a year the magnificent structure should make up for the £617million in no time.
The building is due to be opened at the end of 2016 and the latest being January 2017.