the elbphilharmonie plaza — a viewing platform elevated 37 metres above ground — has opened in germany two months ahead of the building’s official inauguration in january 2017. the plaza offers visitors panoramic views across hamburg from the herzog & de meuron-designed structure. the opening coincides with the handover of the building, with local authorities taking delivery of the elbphilharmonie. to mark the occasion, new images have been taken of the much-anticipated concert hall by acclaimed architectural photographer allan toft.

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the plaza serves as the junction between the existing warehouse and the new glass structure
image © allan toft (also first image)

 

 

after nine and a half years of construction, the elbphilharmonie’s plaza — as well as on-site restaurants, cafés, bars, and a hotel — is now open to the public. the plaza serves as the junction between the site’s previously existing warehouse and the new glass structure above, designed by renowned swiss firm herzog & de meuron. located on the banks of the river elbe, the scheme’s centerpiece is a 2,100-seat arena positioned at a height of 50 meters and decoupled from the remainder of the complex for sound-proofing reasons.

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the 2,100-seat arena is positioned at a height of 50 meters
image © allan toft

 

 

internally, herzog & de meuron developed the specific surface structure of the walls and ceiling through extensive material research and numerous conceptual studies. the highly dense and extremely heavy engineered gypsum fiberboard panels reflect sound, which is then directed and scattered by the countless seashell-shaped milled depressions. ‘the dissemination of sound in a concert hall is decisive for the quality of acoustics,’ explains jacques herzog. ‘in order to achieve this, the geometry of the room, the materials used and the surface structure must be perfectly in tune. it is this particular structure and the seamless transition between the walls and the ceiling that lend the concert hall its somewhat natural characteristics.’

SOM_utzonchristmastree
the specific surface structure of the walls and ceiling was developed through extensive material research
image © allan toft

 

 

externally, the striking glazed façade comprises 1,100 individual panes, each measuring four to five meters wide and over three meters high. most glass panes were separately shaped with millimeter precision, then marked with small basalt grey reflective dots. this prevents the structure from overheating, while simultaneously creating a shimmering effect. the curvature of each pane depends on the particular area of the building.

 

the elbphilharmonie will be inaugurated on 11 january 2017. see designboom’s previous coverage of the project here.

SOM_utzonchristmastree
the highly dense and extremely heavy engineered gypsum fiberboard panels reflect sound
image © allan toft

SOM_utzonchristmastree
after nine and a half years of construction, the project is finally nearing completion
image © allan toft

SOM_utzonchristmastree
restaurants, cafés, bars, and a hotel are now open to the public
image © allan toft

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various circulation routes connect the multi-storey scheme
image © allan toft

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views from staircases help activate the interior space
image © allan toft

SOM_utzonchristmastree
escalators lead visitors to the upper reaches of the building
image © allan toft

SOM_utzonchristmastree
views from staircases help activate the interior space
image © allan toft

SOM_utzonchristmastree
views from staircases help activate the interior space
image © allan toft

SOM_utzonchristmastree
views from staircases help activate the interior space
image © allan toft

SOM_utzonchristmastree
views from staircases help activate the interior space
image © allan toft

SOM_utzonchristmastree
views from staircases help activate the interior space
image © allan toft

SOM_utzonchristmastree
views from staircases help activate the interior space
image © allan toft

SOM_utzonchristmastree
views from staircases help activate the interior space
image © allan toft

SOM_utzonchristmastree
views from staircases help activate the interior space
image © allan toft

SOM_utzonchristmastree
views from staircases help activate the interior space
image © allan toft

SOM_utzonchristmastree
views from staircases help activate the interior space
image © allan toft

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