Hamburg Philharmonic – A Marvel of Modern Architecture

Historic Transformations: From Warehouse to Architectural Wonder

The Hamburg Philharmonic is an architectural marvel, which was constructed on the foundations of a brick warehouse that has a rich historic background dating back to the 1960s. This majestic structure stood as a storage unit for tobacco, cocoa, and tea until the end of the 20th century. The structural base of the Philharmonic is grounded over 1,700 piles, 1,100 of which were primary provisions from the original building.

Fusion of Modern Ideas into the Historic Fabric

The majestic Philharmonic of Hamburg was envisioned, designed, and built on the remains of a brick granary. This granary had served as storage for commodities such as tea, tobacco, and cocoa. The modern building was made to stand on over 1,700 piles, a significant number of which, 650, were newly constructed and embedded into the floor following the demolition of the internal grain warehouse structure.

Exquisite Design Innovation: Detailed Facade Carvings

In an effort to integrate the inner aesthetics of Hamburg Philharmonic with its surroundings, the designers paid close attention to the facade, incorporating individualized carving details. The immense 16,000-square-metre glass facade comprised of 1,100 unique glass sets, characterized by distinctive geometric facades that further enhance the visual spectacle by featuring recessed or bulging modules.

An Architectural Landmark in Europe’s Largest Urban Project

The Hamburg Philharmonic stands tall at 110 meters, marking the western edge of HafenCity. Considered Europe’s largest urban development project, HafenCity is an impressive central neighborhood situated near Speicherstadt. The ground floor of the Philharmonic is set to 8.5 meters above sea level. Initial investment plans included a 90-meter office building – MediaCityPort, built to accommodate the IT industry. However, these plans were abandoned following the internet bubble burst.

Realizing the Vision: The Journey of Hamburg Philharmonic

The renowned Swiss architecture firm, Herzog & de Meuron, was enlisted to develop the office building’s design by the German interior architect and developer, Alexander Gerarf. The firm proposed a unique design for the concert hall, which included supplemental functions and a vast public space within the building. This design not only garnered approval from the Hamburg authorities but also received widespread public appreciation. In 2004, a municipal firm was established to oversee the realization of this ambitious project.

Following the development of a comprehensive business plan, private partners and operators were selected through a stringent international tender process, for a contract period of twenty years. Subsequently, the investment was financed, and construction work began in 2007 with the dismantlement of the warehouse’s interior structure, retaining only the external walls.

The construction journey was marked by multiple extensions of the budget and timeline. The building was inaugurated six years later than initially planned and at more than triple the original cost.

This architectural beauty now stands as a testament to the blend of historic conservation and modern design, symbolizing a new cultural beacon in Hamburg’s landscape.