On a recent visit to Hamburg, we were able to see the progress of Herzog & de Meuron’s grand concert hall [check out our previous coverage here]. Although construction costs continue to escalate [almost 70 million Euro have been donated by private businesses for the project, and the project is well over its 240 million Euro proposed budget], once complete, it will be the highest inhabited building of Hamburg and bring even more life to the area’s harbor. More images and more about the visit after the break.
For our visit, we approached the building first from HafenCity before walking along the Elbe and, finally, crossing the harbor. From HafenCity, we could catch interesting views of the building between the streets and the voids between the existing buildings. The structure has an interesting quality of being quietly dynamic, as it does not overburden the area, yet is truly something remarkable to see.
It was disappointing that the Kaispeicher Warehouse – the masonry base which the concert hall floats above – was covered, hiding the extreme contrast of the transparent glass with the solid brick. Yet, in a way, it allowed one to focus purely on the glass structure and draw all the attention upward toward the sky.
Throughout the course of the afternoon, the changing conditions of the sky were reflected upon the skin, as at times the treatment was a bright clear blue and slowly turned to a white-ish grey as more clouds appeared.
Having the concert hall visualized as a floating glass structure is quite a success because when walking around the immediate site, one does not feel the weight of the massive building. The masonry base ties the concert hall to its context, and although the glass surface covers more than 21,000 sqm, it does not feel bulky or out of place.
Crossing the harbor to the industrial side offers a great perspective of the hall and the form fits well into the skyline. The building seems to take full advantage of its prime location and stands proudly on the protruding edge of the habor, with the old factory anchoring itself in the area’s history. From each angle, the building offers a new perspective and the changing skin breathes life into the structure. Although there is more than a year left till opening day, we were excited to see the progress and look forward to see the final result!