The Elbphilharmonie on the Kaispeicher marks a location that most people in Hamburg know about but have never really noticed. In the future it will become a new center of social, cultural, and daily life for the people of Hamburg as well as visitors from all over the world.
The Kaispeicher A, designed by Werner Kallmorgen and constructed between 1963 and 1966, was originally used as a warehouse for cocoa beans until close to the end of the last century.
The new building has been extruded from the shape of the Kaispeicher, it is perfectly congruent with the brick block of the older building on top of which it has been placed. The top and bottom of the new structure are, however, entirely different from the quiet and plain
shape of the warehouse below. The broad, undulating sweep of the roof rises to a total height of 110 m at the Kaispitze (the tip of the peninsula), sloping down to the eastern end, where the roof is some 30 m lower. Correspondingly the bottom of the new superstructure has an expressive dynamic. Specific zones are defined by either wide, shallow or steep vaults.
In contrast to the stoic brick façade of the Kaispeicher, the new building above has a glass façade, consisting in part of curved panels, some of them cut open. The glass façade transforms the new building into a gigantic, iridescent crystal whose textured appearance changes as it catches the reflections of the sky, the water and the city.
The main entrance to the building lies to the east. The elongated escalator curves slightly as it leads to the top of the Kaispeicher, so that it cannot be seen in full from one end to the other. The escalator offers its users a surprising spatial experience through the entire Kaispeicher, past a large panoramic window.
Upon reaching the top of the Kaispeicher, visitors find a unique open space, a new public Plaza above the city. Sitting on top of the Kaispeicher and under the new building, it is like a gigantic joint between old and new. This, too, is a new public space that offers unique panoramic views. Along its edges, vault-shaped openings create spectacular, theatrical views of both the River Elbe and the City of Hamburg. Further inside, a deep vertical opening provides constant spectacular visual relations between the Plaza and the cavernous foyer of
the Grand Hall above. Restaurant, bar, café, and the hotel lobby are located here, as well as access to the lobby of the new concert halls.
The design for the new Elbphilharmonie is a project of the 21st century that would have been inconceivable before. The principle design idea of the Grand Hall as a space where orchestra and conductor are located in the center of the audience, is a well known typology. It is also not uncommon that the architecture is composed of an arrangement of tiers that take their cue from the logic of the acoustic and visual perception. But here this logic leads to another conclusion. The tiers are more pervasive; tiers, walls, and ceiling form a spatial unity. This space, rising vertically almost like a tent, is not determined by the architecture alone but by the 2.150 listeners and musicians who congregate in order to make and listen to music. The towering shape of the hall defines the static structure of the entire volume of the building. And is correspondingly reflected in the silhouette of the building as a whole.
The Elbphilharmonie will become a landmark visible from afar, lending an entirely new accent to the horizontally conceived city of Hamburg – as an expression of reaching out into new territory, into the harbor area along the shores of the River Elbe.
ITA Una insolita commistione di vecchio e nuovo caratterizza la struttura disegnata dagli architetti svizzeri: la vecchia tradizione del porto si fonde con la nuova identità di HafenCyity.
Il progetto si compone di due distinti elementi: una struttura interamente vetrata, incoronata da una serie di “picchi” che disegnano il movimento di onde marine, sembra galleggiare sul massiccio volume di mattoni un tempo magazzino per fave di cacao.
L’imponente ed iridescente architettura vetrata cattura i riflessi cangianti del cielo, dell’acqua e della città.
Combinando la leggerezza del vetro con la solidità dell’esistente edificio “monolitico”, così come lo descrive Herzog, la struttura risulta composta da due metà, esternamente separate da una terrazza all’aperto che percorre l’edificio ad una altezza di 37 metri.
“Si tratta di una nuova piazza pubblica – spiega Herzog – concepita per tutti, non solo per élite”.
All’interno del complesso troveranno spazio una sala da concerto con 2150 posti a sedere, una più piccola con 550, un lussuoso hotel, un complesso residenziale ed un parcheggio con 500 posti auto che troverà spazio nella struttura sottostante.
Dalla piazza i visitatori avranno accesso alla sala da concerto da 2150 posti a sedere attraverso un’ampia scala che i progettisti definiscono un “complesso e cerimoniale percorso” verso il foyer che avvolge la sala filarmonica. Come “strisce galleggianti”, le rampe della scala conducono alla sala da concerto.