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Elbphilharmonie Hamburg
Elbe Philharmonic Hall
Herzog & de Meuron
Herzog & de Meuron, Elbphilharmonie, Elphi, Hamburg, Hafenstadt, Germany, Elbe
Relationship with the location
Herzog & de Meuron, Elbphilharmonie, Elphi, Hamburg, Hafenstadt, Germany, Elbe
Importance of the building in the territory and in the city
Herzog & de Meuron, Elbphilharmonie, Elphi, Hamburg, Hafenstadt, Germany, Elbe
Herzog & de Meuron, Elbphilharmonie, Elphi, Hamburg, Hafenstadt, Germany, Elbe
Herzog & de Meuron, Elbphilharmonie, Elphi, Hamburg, Hafenstadt, Germany, ElbeHamburg has a new cultural landmark: the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg’s HafenCity, designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron. On the banks of the river Elbe on approx. 1,700 reinforced concrete piles a building complex has emerged, which, in addition to three concert halls, will encompass a hotel, 45 private apartments, and the publicly accessible Plaza with a 360° panoramic view of the city. The centrepiece of the Elbphilharmonie is also one of the most exciting structural challenges in Europe at the moment: A world-class concert hall at a height of 50 metres with seating for 2,100, which is decoupled from the rest of the building for soundproofing reasons. The Elbphilharmonie is the perfect symbiosis of architecture and music at a unique site within the historic city port.

Herzog & de Meuron, Elbphilharmonie, Elphi, Hamburg, Hafenstadt, Germany, ElbeThe building
The interplay between the archaic appearance of the former warehouse known as the Kaispeicher A and the bold curve of the dazzling glass corpus is the architectural calling card of the Elbphilharmonie. Old and new conjoin in an exciting synthesis. Between the warehouse and the new construction there is an area accessible to the public, the Plaza. Nowhere else is the link between the docks and the city revealed as impressively as here. Visitors will be treated to a unique 360° panoramic view of the city from a height of 37 meters. Measuring about 4,000 square metres, the Plaza is almost as big as the one in front of the Town Hall and is an ideal place for Hamburg’s citizens and tourists, concertgoers and hotel guests to stroll. On the outside, there is a walkway around the entire building. On the inside are the foyers leading to the Grand Hall and the Recital Hall, a café and the hotel lobby. The Plaza will be accessible to any visitor, with or without a concert ticket! The Kaispeicher A itself will be used as a multi-storey car park with approx. 500 spaces. It also houses the spa facilities and conference rooms of the hotel, the music education area, several backstage rooms, and, not least of all, the third auditorium with seating for approx. 170. All this is contained within one building, whose impressive entrance is reached via an 82-metre long escalator. The escalator has a concave arch so its end cannot be seen from the beginning. The visitor is thus immersed into a glowing spherical tunnel. Glass sequins that reflect and refract the lights set the mood for the special ambience of this building.

»Planet Elbphilharmonie«
In addition to the concert halls the Elbphilharmonie houses a 250-room hotel and 45 private apartments. The Kaispeicher foundation, which until the 1990’s served as a store for cocoa beans, contains rehearsal and storage spaces, an education centre, restaurants, a park deck as well as the spa facilities and conference rooms of the hotel. Between the Kaispeicher and the new glass corpus the publicly accessible Plaza is located at a height of 37 metres. It provides access to the various sections of the Elbphilharmonie and offers its visitors a spectacular view over the entire city of Hamburg. The Elbphilharmonie is literally a citizen’s concert hall: Approx. 68 million Euro have been donated to the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg Foundation for its construction and the operation of the Elbphilharmonie Konzerte.

Herzog & de Meuron, Elbphilharmonie, Elphi, Hamburg, Hafenstadt, Germany, ElbeThe exclusive location
The Elbphilharmonie Hamburg is built in a historically significant place: in the Sandtorhafen docks. 1875 saw the construction of the first warehouse in Hamburg Docks here: the Kaiserspeicher. The magnificent neo-Gothic building quickly emerged as the city’s landmark while the city became a major centre of international trade. Almost completely destroyed in WW II, the Kaiserspeicher was detonated in 1963. In 1966 the Kaispeicher A was erected on the same site, based on a design by Werner Kallmorgen. Cocoa, tea and tobacco were stored here until the 1990s. With the rise in container transport, however, the warehouse dwindled in significance and ultimately stood empty.

The »vineyard« principle: the Grand Hall

With its 2100 seats the Grand Hall is the heart of the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg. The audience is seated on all sides of the stage, the seating rising up as in a stadium, similar to the terraced planting of vineyards. The conductor and the orchestra take their place in the middle of the hall, with the seating rising steeply in interwoven tiers. This guarantees unobstructed sightlines of the stage and an excellent listening experience from every seat. In its appearance, the Grand Hall resembles a mixture of the Berlin Philharmonie and the Teatro alla Scala in Milan.
The reflector in the centre of the pointed ceiling is architecturally impressive in itself. It provides for the outstanding acoustics and contains lighting and technical equipment. The acoustic concept was developed by one of the world’s leading experts on acoustics, Yasuhisa Toyota of Nagata Acoustics. He measured and tested the sound quality and its distribution on an exact 1:10 model of the Grand Hall.
A four-manual organ with 65 stops, from the organ-workshop Klais in Bonn, completes the Grand Hall of the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg.

Herzog & de Meuron, Elbphilharmonie, Elphi, Hamburg, Hafenstadt, Germany, ElbeThe Recital Hall as »shoebox« and Kaistudio
In addition to the Grand Hall, the Elbphilharmonie has two other concert halls, a recital hall and a small studio. In contrast to the Grand Hall the Recital Hall is in the classic »shoebox« form. Equipped with flexible podium and seating for up to 550, it is suitable not only for chamber music, jazz concerts or solo recitals but allows for various other possible uses. The Kaistudio 1, the third hall of the Elbphilharmonie, has seating for approx. 170 and is the centre of a lively music education area located within the old warehouse construction. It can serve as a concert venue for contemporary and experimental music and as a rehearsal space for ensembles and choirs. In addition to the Kaistudio 1, the music education area comprises six further rehearsal rooms, the Klingendes Museum (Interactive Instrument Museum), and further backstage and foyer areas.

Herzog & de Meuron, Elbphilharmonie, Elphi, Hamburg, Hafenstadt, Germany, ElbeThe White Skin
The White Skin ensures that the acoustics in the Grand Hall are perfect. It consists of a total of 10,000 gypsum fibre panels composed of a mixture of natural plaster and recycled paper. The panels are milled according to intricate 3D calculations und produced exactly to the millimetre dimensions given, to obtain an acoustically optimal surface structure. They fulfil the highest requirements regarding acoustic quality, weight, fire protection and durability. The panel surface, precisely shaped by a computer-operated device, maintains an organic, almost hand-carved look. The depth and shape of the surface structure differ according to the position of each panel and its corresponding acoustical needs. The surface structure was programmed especially for the Grand Hall and consists of approx. one million cells, each of which is perfectly matched to the spatial geometry of the hall. For optimal and targeted sound distribution, the surface structure plays a crucial role. Such highly effective acoustical microshaping is achieved by precise milling to the nearest millimetre and is characteristic for the White Skin. The panels weigh between 35 and 125 kilogrammes, depending on their thickness and size. The White Skin was developed by the architects, in close cooperation with the acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota, fire safety experts, and the manufacturing company Peuckert (based in Mehring near Munich). Prior to the production there was a thorough research of possible materials, and numeric and sample studies were conducted. By virtue of the precise planning, the walls and the ceiling merge into one another and appear like a single piece of skin the size of 6,500 square metres.

Herzog & de Meuron, Elbphilharmonie, Elphi, Hamburg, Hafenstadt, Germany, ElbeThe glass facade
The dazzling glass facade of the Elbphilharmonie is unique. It consists of 1,100 individual panes, each measuring four to five metres wide and over three metres high. In the foyer area they are even more than five metres in height. The windows themselves are a masterpiece of engineering. Most glass panes were separately shaped with millimetre precision at 600° C, then marked with small basalt grey reflective dots. This prevents the structure from heating up due to sunlight while at the same time it creates a special shimmering effect. To achieve an optimal effect the configuration of the dots is computer-calculated for each glass pane based on the respective mounting positions. The curvature of each pane depends on the particular area of the building. Hatches resembling fish-gills characterise the hotel and foyer while horseshoe-shaped recesses, which look like tuning forks, form the balconies for the flats on the westernmost tip of the building. Each glass element weighs about 1.2 tonnes. In quality-control tests the glass panes withstood gale-force winds up to 150 km per hour and torrential downpours with ease. The glass surface of the Elbphilharmonie covers 16,000 square metres, a size equivalent to two football fields. It was completed in January 2014.

The roof structure
The 7,000-square metre roof of the Elbphilharmonie consists of eight spherical, concavely bent sections that form a uniquely elegant curving silhouette. In addition, 6,000 shimmering giant sequins have been applied to the roof. The roof structure, with its steep curves and high peaks, itself weighs 1,000 tonnes and covers the complex star-shaped steel framework that carries the Grand Hall without any supporting pillars. The roof of the Grand Hall is made up of a steel framework, each element measuring up to 25 metres in length and weighing up to 40 tonnes, the outer and inner shell, floors for the technical equipment, the White Skin with the reflector as well as additional loads. Altogether the roof weighs 8,000 tonnes.

Herzog & de Meuron, Elbphilharmonie, Elphi, Hamburg, Hafenstadt, Germany, ElbeThe project Elbphilharmonie Hamburg
The initial idea for rejuvenating Kaispeicher A was of the construction of the MediaCityPort - an office building for the media industry, which was to tower up to a height of 90 metres on top of the Kaispeicher A, with a gross surface area of 50,000 square metres. However, the end of the dotcom boom and the subsequent drop in demand meant it was never actually built. Originally commissioned by the project developer Alexander Gérard, the star Swiss Architects Herzog & de Meuron came up with a project sketch – the groundbreaking idea of a »Hamburg Philharmonie« – the construction of a concert hall on the historical warehouse, surrounded by commercial facilities and a publicly accessible Plaza. The spectacular design elated the Senate, the city government and the public. In May 2004 the ReGe Hamburg, a project development company owned by the city, was installed as the developer of the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg. The feasibility of the project was assessed and a utilisation concept was prepared, and then the private partners for the construction, the financing and 20 years of operation of the object were determined by means of a European tendering procedure. The contracts were assigned to Commerz Real AG and Hochtief Solutions AG within the property company Adamanta GmbH & Co. The approx. 45 freehold apartments entailed by the project lie in the responsibility of Hochtief as the property developer, who in this specific field cooperates with Quantum AG in a company named Skyliving GmbH.

Construction progress

Following the unanimous approval of the city government, construction work began on 2 April 2007 with the laying of the foundation stone. The Kaispeicher A was first completely gutted, with just the brick facades remaining intact. Then a further 650 reinforced concrete piles, in addition to the existing 1,111, were rammed 15 metres deep into the mud of the River Elbe, so that the building could support the 200,000 tonnes of the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg. On completion of the 26th storey, the last one in the bare brickwork, the topping-out ceremony took place in May 2010. The shell construction was completed in November 2013. The installation of the White Skin in the Grand Hall was commenced in December 2013. The facade was completed in January 2014; the roof was sealed in August 2014. The Elbphilharmonie will be inaugurated on 11 January 2017, although the Plaza will already be publicly accessible from November 2016.
Herzog & de Meuron, Elbphilharmonie, Elphi, Hamburg, Hafenstadt, Germany, Elbe
Herzog & de Meuron, Elbphilharmonie, Elphi, Hamburg, Hafenstadt, Germany, ElbeA new Location in the City - The City in a new Place

The Elbphilharmonie on the Kaispeicher A marks a location that most people in Hamburg know about but have never really experienced. In future it will become a new centre of social and cultural life for the people of Hamburg as well as visitors from all over the world.

Herzog & de Meuron, Elbphilharmonie, Elphi, Hamburg, Hafenstadt, Germany, ElbeThe Kaispeicher A, designed by Werner Kallmorgen and constructed between 1963 and 1966, was originally used as a warehouse for cocoa beans until the end of the last century. The new building has been extruded from the shape of the Kaispeicher A and is perfectly congruent with the brick block of the older building on top of which it has been placed. The top and bottom of the new structure are, however, entirely different from the plain, blunt shape of the warehouse below. The broad, undulating sweep of the roof rises to a total height of 110 m at the Kaispitze (the tip of the peninsula), sloping down to the eastern end, where the roof is some 30 m lower. Correspondingly the bottom of the new superstructure has an expressive dynamic. Specific areas are defined by either wide, shallow or steep vaults.

In contrast to the stoic brick facade of the Kaispeicher A, the new building above has a glass facade, consisting in part of curved panels, some of them cut open. The glass facade transforms the new building into a gigantic, iridescent crystal whose textured appearance changes as it catches the reflections of the sky, the water and the city and transforms them into an intricate puzzle on its facade.

Herzog & de Meuron, Elbphilharmonie, Elphi, Hamburg, Hafenstadt, Germany, ElbeThe main entrance to the building, where the box office is located, lies to the east. The elongated escalator curves slightly as it leads to the top of the Kaispeicher A, so that it cannot be seen in full from one end to the other. The escalator offers its users a surprising spatial experience through the entire Kaispeicher A. The first escalator leads up to a large panoramic window, the second escalator ends at the Plaza.

Herzog & de Meuron, Elbphilharmonie, Elphi, Hamburg, Hafenstadt, Germany, ElbeUpon reaching the top of the Kaispeicher A, visitors find an open space, a public Plaza above the city. Between the top of the Kaispeicher A and beneath the new building – at the joint between old and new – is a new public space that offers unique panoramic views. Along its edges, vault-shaped openings create spectacular, theatrical views of both the River Elbe and the City of Hamburg. Further inside, a deep vertical opening creates constant spectacular glimpses of the foyer areas of the Grand Hall above. A café and the hotel lobby are located here, as well as access to the foyers of the new concert halls.

The design for the new Elbphilharmonie is a project of the 21st century that would have been inconceivable before. The principle design idea of the Grand Hall as a space where orchestra and conductor are located in the centre of the audience, is a well-known typology. It is also not uncommon that the architecture is composed of an arrangement of tiers that take their cue from the logic of the acoustic and visual perception. But here this logic leads to another conclusion. The tiers are more pervasive; tiers, walls, and ceiling form a spatial unity. This space, rising vertically almost like a tent, is not determined by the architecture alone but by the 2.100 listeners and musicians who gather in order to make and listen to music. The towering shape of the hall defines the static structure of the entire building and is correspondingly reflected in the silhouette of the building as a whole. The Elbphilharmonie is a landmark visible from afar, lending an entirely new accent to the horizontally conceived city of Hamburg.
steel, reinforced concrete, glass
Germany [Deutschland]
Platz der Deutschen Einheit 4
Buildings for recreational activities
Auditoriums and music centres
Residential buildings
Multiple dwelling
Commercial buildings
Bars, cafeterias
Buildings for travel and tourism
Transport buildings and structures
Garages, car parking, etc.
2003 - 2014    
2006 - 2017
"Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, 2001-2016, Hamburgo (Alemania) / Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, 2001-2016, Hamburg (Germany)", AV Monografías / Monographs 191-192, 2017 [Herzog & de Meuron. 2013-2017], "Obras y proyectos / Works and Projects", pp. 14-29
Jean-Philippe Hugron, "Elphi, pour les intimes / Elphi, for those in the know", L'Architecture d'Aujourd'hui 416, décembre/december 2016, p. 18
"Arts centers", Architectural Record 12/2016, december 2016, pp. 59-102
Suzanne Stephens, "Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg", Architectural Record 12/2016, december 2016, pp. 76-83 (59-102)
"Rehabilitation / Transformation", L'Architecture d'Aujourd'hui 407, juin/june 2015, pp. 36-111
Herbert Wright, "Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg, Germany", L'Architecture d'Aujourd'hui 407, juin/june 2015, pp. 86-87 (36-111)
"Philharmonie de Hambourg / Hamburg Philharmonic", Moniteur Architecture AMC 242, mai/may 2015, pp. 10-11
"Herzog & de Meuron. Filarmonía de Hamburgo / Elbphilharmonie of Hamburg", Arquitectura Viva 168, 11/2014 [Mass is More. Thermal Inertia and Sustainability / La masa es más. Inercia térmica y sostenibilidad], "Dossier Vidrio / Dossier Glass", pp. 62-65
Claas Gefroi, "Was lernen wir von der Elbphilharmonie? / What can we learn from the Elbphilharmonie project?", Baumeister 12/2013, dezember/december 2013, pp. 94-97
"Space, time and money", A10 new European architecture 41, september-october 2011, pp. 4-5
Catherine Seron-Pierre, "Chantier: 22 000 metres carres de vitrage / On site: 22 000 square metres of glass", Moniteur Architecture AMC 203, février/february 2011, pp. 12-14
Jean-François Chevrier (ed.), El Croquis 152-153, IV-V 2010 [Herzog & de Meuron. 2005-2010. Programa, monumento, paisaje / Programme, monument, landscape]
"Elbphilharmonie, Hamburgo / Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg. 2003-", in Jean-François Chevrier (ed.), El Croquis 152-153, IV-V 2010 [Herzog & de Meuron. 2005-2010. Programa, monumento, paisaje / Programme, monument, landscape], pp. 148-175
Herzog & de Meuron, Elbphilharmonie, Elphi, Hamburg, Hafenstadt, Germany, Detail"Elbphilharmonie: Thema mit Variationen. Ein Kristall im Hafen – Die Glasfassade der Elbphilharmonie / A crystal in the harbour - the glass facade of the Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg. Herzog & de Meuron. Ascan Mergenthaler, Stefan Goeddertz, Ulrich Grenz, Kai Strehlke", Detail 5/2010, mai/may 2010 [Analog und Digital / Analogue and Digital / Analogique et numèrique], "Technik / technology" pp. 498-508
"Herzog y de Meuron. Filarmónica, Hamburgo / Herzog & de Meuron. Philharmonic Hall, Hamburg", Arquitectura Viva 124, I-II/2009, 2009 [Banda ancha. Obras digitales: de la estructura a la piel / Broadband], "Últimos proyectos - Técnica/Diseño / Recent Projects / Technique/Design", pp. 100-106
"Elbphilharmonie", A+U. Architecture and Urbanisme 459, december 2008 [Sustainable architecture in Germany], pp. 60-63 (15-141)
"Horen und Sehen: Akustik und Architektur / Hearing and seeing: acoustics and architecture", Baumeister 7/2008, juli/july 2008, pp. 45-81
Peter Gahr, "An acoustic model of the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg", Baumeister 7/2008, july/july 2008, pp. 58-59 (45-81)
Herzog & de Meuron, Elbphilharmonie, Elphi, Hamburg, Hafenstadt, Germany, ElbeA unique concert hall organ has been developed for the Grand Hall, the heart of the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg. Not only does the instrument fit perfectly into the spectacular architecture, it also honours the exciting concept that is a deeply ingrained part of Hamburg’s new cultural landmark: making music accessible, approachable and affordable for everyone. The organ does not tower high above the heads of the audience. It is located in, next to and behind the terraced rows of seats. Some of the 4,765 pipes are visible and are fitted around the hall where you can touch them. The organ was built by the famous Johannes Klais Orgelbau workshop in Bonn, which is now run by the fourth generation of organ makers. The concept for the organ was developed by Manfred Schwartz, the organ expert who has overseen the project from the very beginning. The Elbphilharmonie’s titular organist is the world-renowned concert organist Iveta Apkalna.

Herzog & de Meuron, Elbphilharmonie, Elphi, Hamburg, Hafenstadt, Germany, ElbeAn instrument you can touch in a concert hall conceived for everyone
The instrument even features an opus number: 1871. That alone indicates that the organ built by the tradition-rich Klais workshop is a true piece of art. This great concert organ consists of 4,765 pipes, 380 of which are made of wood, the rest from tin alloy. Each individual part was manufactured in Bonn, and together they weigh 25 tonnes. These not only include the pipes, but also the windchest and two consoles – one mechanical action console that is fixed to the instrument, and an electric action mobile console that can be played from the orchestra podium. The brief that the Elbphilharmonie should be a »concert hall for everyone« is beautifully reflected in the instrument’s architectural layout, with the 15 x 15 metre organ standing in close proximity to the audience. Because of the way the pipes are fitted, concertgoers can even touch some of them. They are covered with a special laminate which keeps them free of any trace of human hands.

The four-manual organ has a huge tonal and dynamic range that is particularly well suited for performing nineteenth- and twentieth-century music, as well as contemporary organ literature. The speaking length of the shortest organ pipe is only 11 millimetres. At 15,600 hertz, it produces a sound that is close to the upper limit of human hearing. The longest pipe is made of wood and is more than 10 metres long. It stretches over several tiers and its sound (at 16 hertz) is perceived as a muffled tingling. Between these two extremes, the organ’s 69 stops contain a whole world of different tone colours. One curious detail: the organ’s Echo (Fernwerk) division is hidden in the ceiling reflector – it’s almost impossible for the audience to identify the source of its spherical sounds!

The gift of a Klais organ for Hamburg
The family of Philipp Klais has been building, reorganising and restoring organs in Bonn since 1882. While they have a deep respect for the traditional aspects of their craft, they have also always exhibited a love of innovation and always aim to breathe new life into the inexhaustible aura of this complex instrument. »When people say >Oh, that was really moving!<, that’s really the biggest compliment they can give,« says Philipp Klais, the fourth-generation workshop director. Klais organs are in demand across the globe. They can be found in Munich, Cologne, Beijing, Auckland, Singapore, New York, Tokyo, Moscow and Saint Petersburg. When building a new organ, knowing its end purpose is key for the staff at the Klais workshop. In which country, which city, which hall will the organ be used? Who will play it? Who will be listening to the music it creates? These questions are the starting point from which all plans are drawn. The result: every instrument they make is unmistakably unique.

The Klais organ in the Elbphilharmonie was specially designed for Hamburg’s extraordinary new concert hall, its architecture, its acoustics and its visitors. It was a gift by the benefactor Peter Möhrle, a successful Hamburg businessman who wanted to give something back to the city and its residents. He donated two million Euros for the organ.

Herzog & de Meuron, Elbphilharmonie, Elphi, Hamburg, Hafenstadt, Germany, ElbeIveta Apkalna: the Elphilharmonie’s titular organist
Herzog & de Meuron, Elbphilharmonie, Elphi, Hamburg, Hafenstadt, Germany, ElbeThe queen of instruments has a complex, multi-layered personality. It takes a huge investment of time before one can get to know the organ and all its stops. Cathedrals and churches therefore often have their own organists, and the Elbphilharmonie’s organ will be looked after by a renowned artist: Iveta Apkalna. The Latvian musician lives in Berlin and Riga. She has performed with the world’s leading conductors and orchestras, and she has also given numerous concerts in Hamburg already. Together with the Elbphilharmonie team, she is currently developing programme ideas for the organ, discussing the instrument’s special characteristics with guest organists, and is of course also performing concerts of her own – alongside the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra at the opening concerts on 11 and 12 January 2017, and a solo performance in the first organ concert on 27 January 2017.

Over the course of the first Elbphilharmonie season leading up to summer 2017, a long list of other exceptional organists will play the new instrument: Christian Schmitt, who is performing with the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra as part of the »Lux aeterna« festival in February, Olivier Latry, also in February, and Martin Haselböck in the production »Call Me God« with John Malkovich in March. Finally, on 17 June, Hamburg organists Martin Böcker, Thomas Dahl, Jan Ernst, Andreas Fischer, Anne-Katrin Gera, Manuel Gera, Matthias Hoffmann-Borggrefe, Rudolf Kelber, Eberhard Lauer, Gerhard Löffler, Christoph Schoener, Kerstin Wolf and Wolfgang Zerer are organising and performing in the »Long Night of the Organ«.
Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg, Germany
ReGe Hamburg Project-Realisierungsgesellschaft mbH, Hamburg, Germany
€ 865,650,000
total sq.m. 125,512
warehouse sq.m. 61,333
new structure sq.m. 64,179
concert area sq.m. 30,121
plaza sq.m. 5,745
public area of plaza sq.m. 3,100
multistorey car park sq.m. 22,736
residential units sq.m. 12,801
eateries sq.m. 1,332 [4% of the building]
eateries and conference facilities sq.m. 3,631
general areas [staircases, thoroughfares, equipment rooms] sq.m. 16,387
roof sq.m. 6,200
recital hall sq.m. 440
third concert hall sq.m. 133 / 174
northern side m. 108.6
eastern side m. 85.1
western side m. 21.6
southern side m. 125.9
former Kaispeicher A warehouse m. 35
Plaza level m. 37.2
Lowest point on the roof m. 78
Grand Concert Hall m. 25
hotel rooms 244
apartments 45
Grand Concert Hall seats 2,100
Recital Hall seats 550
Third Concert Hall seats 150
parking spaces 520
Grand Concert Hall m. 30 / 50
Maximum distance from conductor m. 30
Highest point [western side]: 110 m above sea level [Approx. 102 m above street level]
Ground floor m. 8.50 above sea level [HafenCity is at the standard flood protection height of 8 m above sea level]
total t. 200,000
roof t. 700
Pile foundations: 1,745
In situ concrete piles: approx. m. 15
Project architect
Jacques Herzog
Pierre de Meuron
Ascan Mergenthaler
David Koch
Design team
Jan-Christoph Lindert, Nicholas Lyons, Stefan Goeddertz, Stephan Wedrich, Christian Riemenschneider, Carsten Happel, Kai Strehlke
Stephan Achermann, Sabine Althaber, Christiane Anding, Thomas Arnhardt, Petra Arnold, Tobias Becker, Johannes Beinhauer, Uta Beissert, Lina Belling, Andreas Benischke, Inga Benkendorf, Christine Binswanger, Johannes Bregel, Francesco Brenta, Jehann Brunk, Julia Katrin Buse, Ignacio Cabezas, Jean-Claude Cadalbert, Sergio Cobos Álvarez, Massimo Corradi, Guillaume Delemazure, Annika Delorette, Fabian Dieterle, Annette Donat, Patrick Ehrhardt, Carmen Eichenberger, Stephanie Eickelmann, Magdalena Agata Falska, Daniel Fernandez, Hans Focketyn, Birgit Föllmer, Bernhard Forthaus, Andreas Fries, Asko Fromm, Catherine Gay Menzel, Marco Gelsomini, Ulrich Grenz, Jan Grosch, Jana Grundmann, Hendrik Gruss, Luís Guzmán Grossberger, Christian Hahn, Yvonne Hahn, Naghmeh Haji Beik, David Hammer, Michael Hansmeyer, Nikolai Happ, Bernd Heidlindemann, Jutta Heinze, Magdalena Hellmann, Anne-Kathrin Hellermann, Mirco Hirsch, Volker Helm, Lars Höffgen, Robert Hösl, Philip Hogrebe, Ulrike Horn, Michael Iking, Ina Jansen, Nils Jarre, Jürgen Johner, Leweni Kalentzi, Andreas Kimmel, Anja Klein, Frank Klimek, Julia Kniess, Uwe Klintworth, Alexander Kolbinger, Benjamin Koren, Tomas Kraus, Jonas Kreis, Nicole Lambrich, Jens Lehmann, Matthias Lehmann, Monika Lietz, Felix Morczinek, Philipp Loeper, Thomas Lorenz, Christina Loweg, Florian Loweg, Femke Lübcke, Tim Lüdtke, Lilian Lyons, Klaus Marten, Jan Maasjosthusmann, Petrina Meier, Götz Menzel, Alexander Meyer, Simone Meyer, Henning Michelsen, Alexander Montero Herberth, Felix Morczinek, Jana Münsterteicher, Christiane Netz, Andreas Niessen, Monika Niggemeyer, Monica Ors Romagosa, Argel Padilla Figueroa, Benedikt Pedde, Sebastian Pellatz, Malte Petersen, Jorge Picas de Carvalho, Philipp Poppe, Alrun Porkert, Yanbin Qian, Robin Quaas, Leila Reese, Constance von Rège, Chantal Reichenbach, Thorge Reinke, Ina Riemann, Nina Rittmeier, Dimitra Riza, Miquel Rodríguez, Christoph Röttinger, Guido Roth, Henning Rothfuss, Peter Scherz, Sabine Schilling, Chasper Schmidlin, Alexandra Schmitz, Martin Schneider, Leo Schneidewind, Malte Schoemaker, Katrin Schwarz, Henning Severmann, Nadine Stecklina, Markus Stern, Sebastian Stich, Sophie Stöbe, Stephanie Stratmann, Ulf Sturm, Stefano Tagliacarne, Anke Thestorf, Katharina Thielmann, Kerstin Treiber, Florian Tschacher, Chih-Bin Tseng, Jan Ulbricht, Florian Voigt, Maximilian Vomhof, Christof Weber, Lise Wendler, Philipp Wetzel, Douwe Wieërs, Julius Wienholt, Julia Wildfeuer, Boris Wolf, Patrick Yong, Kai Zang, Xiang Zhou, Bettina Zimmermann, Christian Zöllner, Marco Zürn
Acoustical consultant
Yasuhisa Toyota
Nagata Acoustics Inc., Los Angeles / Tokyo
Project management
Consortium PlanerArge Elbphilharmonie Hamburg:
  • Herzog & de Meuron GmbH, Hamburg, Germany
  • H+P Planungsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG, Aachen, Germany
  • Hochtief Solutions AG, Essen, Germany
General contractor
Adamanta Grundstücks-Vermietungsgesellschaft mbH & Co., Düsseldorf, Germany
Hochtief Solutions AG, Essen, Germany
History of Planning and Realisation

June 2003:

»Philharmonie Hamburg« project sketch by architects Herzog & de Meuron including additional buildings (hotel, apartments, parking) on behalf of Alexander Gérard and Dieter Becken

September 2004:
The Senate of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg (FHH) awards ReGe Hamburg the contract for a feasibility study to be completed by May 2005.

February 2005:
Pan-European competition announced to search for a private partner for its construction, financing and operation.

July 2005:
Based on the feasibility study the senate of FHH votes in favour of the construction of the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg.

Autumn 2006:
Planning application submitted.

February 2007:
Hamburg City government unanimously votes in favour of construction of the Elbphilharmonie (proportion of costs for the City of Hamburg: 272 Million Euro)

April 2007:
Herzog & de Meuron, Elbphilharmonie, Elphi, Hamburg, Hafenstadt, Germany, ElbeBuilding commences.

November 2008:

Both parties agree to a settlement. Costs for the City of Hamburg increase to 495 Million Euro.

May 2010:
Topping-out ceremony

November 2011:
Almost complete suspension of construction work by Hochtief

April 2013:

After negotiations with the project partners, the City of Hamburg decides upon a restructuring of the project after which construction work is fully resumed. The restructuring agreement stipulates among other points:
- Additional responsibilities assigned to Hochtief: Assumption of all risks related to planning and construction, participation in a newly founded consortium with the architects, guaranteed meeting of quality requirements from the architects and the acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota, contractually guaranteed intermediate deadlines, and a binding date of completion
- A new construction schedule: Handover of the concert venue areas by 30 June 2016, final inspection and acceptance of the Elbphilharmonie by 31 October 2016
- Additional costs for the City of Hamburg: 256.65 Million Euro for the additional services executed by Hochtief and the architects and including, amongst others, costs for taxes and interest. Proportion of total costs for the City of Hamburg: 789 Million Euro.

July 2013:
Resumption of construction work

September 2013:
Completion of 3D planning for the technical centre on the roof

November 2013:
Completion of the building shell

December 2013:

Installation of the White Skin begins

January 2014:
Installation of the final element of the glass facade

March 2014:

Removal of the two tower cranes and installation of two rooftop cranes

Spring 2014:

Start of interior finishing work on the Plaza (Plaza tube, wind deflectors, ceilings and floors)

May 2014:
Completion of the element facade

August 2014:
Completion of the roof, which is now sealed and rainproof

September 2014:

Completed installation of nearly one third of the White Skin on the ceiling of the Grand Hall.

January 2015:

Completed installation of the White Skin and the reflector on the ceiling of the Grand Hall. The renovation of the exterior facade of the red brick warehouse is finished.

April 2015:

Completion of the technical area in the Grand Hall.

June 2015:
The project partners present the construction status of the Plaza to the press.

January 2016:
The Hamburg Senate secures the basis for artistic operations of the Elbphilharmonie.

February 2016:

The complete White Skin in the Grand Hall is presented to the press.
Photos © Michael Zapf, Iwan Baan, Thies Raetzke, Oliver Heissner, Zoch
Drawings © Herzog & de Meuron
Video © Elbphilharmonie Hamburg
Text edited by Elbphilharmonie Hamburg
Courtesy of Elbphilharmonie Hamburg

Herzog & de Meuron, Elbphilharmonie, Elphi, Hamburg, Hafenstadt, Germany, Elbe

If you haven't already clicked on the photo strip at the top of the page, for the gallery of photos [170 images] and drawings [8 images], enter here
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