A new concert hall is worth the wait, and the cost, for Hamburg

(K. Brent Tomer),

ON OCTOBER 31st, the lights on Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie concert hall spelled out “fertig”—“finished”. That heralded a monumental wave of relief, for the history of this crazily ambitious project had been chequered in the extreme. Conceived in 2003 at a projected cost of €77m, it finally cost ten times that amount (mostly in public money), and missed its completion date by seven years. It had survived disputes, lawsuits and a parliamentary inquiry. No wonder its architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron—creators of Tate Modern and the “birds’ nest” Olympic stadium in Beijing—feared at one point that the job would destroy their company. In 2011 Hamburg’s culture senator Barbara Kisseler neatly summed up her fellow-citizens’ ambivalence: “The Elbphilharmonie is very dear to us, in both senses of the word.”

The tallest building in town, its roof covered in giant sequins, it is perched on the end of a wharf in the busy port. It has been variously likened to a crystal on a rock, a bubble-wrapped ice-cube, and— most appropriately—a ship under sail. The hull consists of a converted cocoa warehouse, and the…Continue reading

via K. Brent Tomer CFTC A new concert hall is worth the wait, and the cost, for Hamburg


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