It’s hard to know which part of Hamburg’s new Elbphilharmonie concert hall is more fantastic: its 15-year gestation, its billion-dollar price tag, its 5000-pipe organ, or its absolutely dazzling penthouse. Built atop a 1960s cocoa, tobacco, and tea storage warehouse, the just-completed concert hall opened in January to the highest praise.
Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects Pierre de Meuron and Jacques Herzog, with Ascan Mergenthaler, the building houses two concert halls, a hotel, and residential apartments and is surrounded by a public plaza. The architects say that they took inspiration from the ancient theatre at Delphi, sport stadiums, and tents, and the swooping tent-like roofline, glass facade, and soaring interior spaces offer hints of those origins.
What captured my attention was an article in Architectural Digest about the penthouse that is being constructed on top of the building. Gaudí-esque in its lush interior curves, the residence is being designed by robots so that its 1,000 components may be carried up an internal elevator and assembled like a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle. What vision! (To say nothing of the view!)
There’s much more about the building (not the penthouse), including photos, on the Elbphilharmonie site. And if you can get your hands on the March 2017 edition of the dazzling architecture magazine a+u, it features the entire scope of the development project, from its 2001 concept to its 2016 completion.