HPJXAF Elbe Philharmonic Hall, Hafencity, Hamburg, Germany

Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg

Linking Traditional with the Modern

Tradition meets modern at the Elbphilharmonie, the new emblem for Hamburg’s Hafen City. It is a glassy newly constructed building that was set onto the precise footprint of a 1960s-era warehouse. The designs were completed by the architectural office of Herzog & de Meuron.

The building is directly bordered by water on three sides, and the wave motif is carried throughout the entire architecture. With its waved roof edge, the Elbphilharmonie appears almost like a piece of cake cut out of the river.

Yet it is more than just a concert house. The 108m tall building also houses both grand and small event halls, a hotel, 45 apartments, 500 parking spots, multiple restaurants and a publicly accessible outlook platform with a view of the city and the harbor.

In all, the glass facade employs insulated panels totaling 21,800 square meters. Of those, approx. 5,000 square meters use curved, silver glossy glass from Sunglass Industry. The roughly 500 spherically curved panes were initially printed, coated and then bent at approx. 550 degrees Celsius to fit precisely planned specifications. Each pane is a one-off piece, as the architects calculated the necessary thickness of individual pieces throughout the overall pattern to fit the intended usage of the space.

One of the challenges of the bending process: avoiding scorching the coating on the glass. The effect is one of a lively, unique facade which reacts through light effects to its surroundings and the ambient light.