Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg Photo: Maxim Schulz
Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg Photo: Maxim Schulz

Cool concert halls all over the world

Of course, we usually visit concert halls to listen to music. But some of them are worth going to for their audacious designs alone. Here are some venues whose architects have let their creative fantasies go wild. 

Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg Photo: Michael Zapf

Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg

Even before opening its doors, ­Hamburg’s new concert hall, ­Elbphilharmonie, was already an ­attention-grabbing landmark. Architects Herzog & de Meuron began working on the gigantic crystal-like building in 2003.  And as it nears completion, the results are clearly spectacular. Located in ­Hamburg’s old port by the Elbe River, the concert hall is perched dramatically on top of an old warehouse building. Its façade consists of 1,000 curved window panels, tailor-made to capture and ­reflect the color of the sky, the rays of the sun and the water.

Elbphilharmonie has three halls. The largest, the Grand Hall, has seating for 2,100 people. It is here, in the heart of the Elbphilharmonie, that the public will be able to hear music in the building for the first time at the grand opening ­concert on January 11, 2017. The building also contains a hotel, a public plaza and 45 private apartments. There is also a public viewing platform located 37m above the ground level, offering a breathtaking 360-degree view of the city and the harbor. Guided tours about the building’s unique ­architecture will also be available from February. 

Platz der Deutschen Einheit 1

Harpa in Reykjavik Photo: Shutterstock

Harpa, Reykjavik 

Reykjavik’s main concert hall, Harpa, is a stunning, award-winning building. The structure consists of a steel framework clad with irregularly-­shaped glass panels of different colors. Harpa, which opened in 2011, was designed by the Danish firm Henning Larsen Architects in cooperation with Danish-­Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. The building is now one of Reykjavik’s greatest and most distinguished landmarks, ­providing a cultural and social center in the heart of the city.

Austurbakki 2, Reykjavik, Iceland

The Egg – Center for the Performing Arts, New York

The Egg is a performing arts venue in Albany, the capital of New York state, built between 1966 and 1978. Even though its architecture isn’t new, its design, by Harrison & ­Abramovitz, is still an inspiration and the Casa da Música, Porto Photo: IBLEgg has become an icon of Albany’s Capital ­District. Its unusual shape is created by the use of a heavily reinforced concrete beam that helps support the weight on the supporting pedestal. 

Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York

Casa da Música, Porto

Casa da Música, the home of the ­National Orchestra of Porto, is an architectural ­adventure. Designed by the Dutch architecture group OMA, the building has an irregular ­almost sensual shape and is made from white concrete and glass – the Grand Auditorium claims to be the only concert hall in the world with two walls made entirely of glass, which provide views of the city. 

Avenida da Boavista 604-610, Porto, Portugal

Text: Jessica Johansson

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