herzog & de meuron 13th international architecture exhibition
original content
sep 01, 2012
herzog & de meuron 13th international architecture exhibition


‘elbphilharmonie’ by herzog & de meuron at the venice biennale
image © designboom

swiss duo herzog & de meuron are exhibiting models of their ongoing project ‘elbphilharmonie’ in hamburg, germany at the 2012 venice biennale.
selecting the construction site as a common ground of diverging interests, this specific example has been identified as an example of construction
as an often-time battleground within the architectural field.  as a bottom-up democratic project, the concert hall epitomizes political,
budgetary and ideological debates within the city. escalating building costs and prolonged construction led to a temporary halt on building
in november 2011. after this motion, the client (city of hamburg and ReGe), the general contractor and architect initiated a process
to resolve their three conflicting interests to move forward.

the arsenale’s exhibit includes a backdrop of newspaper clippings beginning with its inception in 2003 as well as three large-sclae models
which are displayed to highlight the architectural moments occurring inside the unfinished structure. the 1:20 scale models are
made from wood and expanded polystyrene.

see designboom’s coverage during schematic design and in its nearly completed state.


suspended model of public escalator measures 520 x 97 x 130 cm
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visitors may peer into the model to see the esdcalators illuminated with LEDs
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interior view of escalators
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escalator model with suspended model of the main concert hall beyond
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suspended model of the main concert hall
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section cutaway model of the concert hall
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model measures 270 x 220 x 250 cm
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interior of the concert hall
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a timeline of newspaper clippings beginning with the project’s inception in 2003
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newspaper clippings from 2006 and 2012
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public plaza model measures 210 x 350 x 280 cm
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view through the plaza – surface of table represents the top of the former warehouse in which the new structure rests upon
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stairs leading into the building
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the architects’ statement
the history of the elbphilharmonie is an almost incredible example of a bottom-up democratic project, informed with euphoric energy,
driven by architectural beauty, cultural-political vision, and civic pride. this energy exhausted itself in the face of exploding building costs and
seemingly endless prolonged construction, culminating in a temporary building stop in november 2011. the large-scale construction site
increasingly mutated into a battlefield involving the three main players: the client (the city of hamburg, and its representative ReGe),
the general contractor, and the architect/general planner. ideally, the construction site of every building project is a platform of interaction that
engages these three main forces; in this case, it relentlessly exposed conflicting interests and requirements. the story of the elbphilharmonie provides,
as an example, an insight into the extremes that mark the reality of planning and building today.

our installation for the biennale presents the project without taking a stand or attempting to analyze the complexities of its evolution.
the only comments provided are uncensored press reports, demonstrating that this project has been a focus of public interest and ongoing debate
for years. the installation includes representations of the complex building services; camera shots walking through the construction site;
and large-scale models, whose spatial and physical presence represent what the architects wished and still wish to foreground: architecture.
herzog & de meuron, august 2012

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