Located in the HafenCity quarter of Hamburg, the Elbphilharmonie is surrounded by the river Elbe, and is constructed on top of a former warehouse building, the Kaispeicher A, which once was the largest warehouse building in the port of Hamburg and stored cocoa, tobacco and tea until the 1990s. The new building impresses with a spectacular glass facade as well as with its wave-like rooftop.
A Glimpse Behind Its Glass Facade
The inside hosts two concert halls, a hotel, the Kaistudios, and residential apartments. Between the old warehouse and the new glass building is the Plaza, which is a public viewing area extended around the whole building that offers a spectacular 360° view of the city and its harbour. The Grand Hall definitely constitutes the heart of the Elbphilharmonie, which seats 2,100 guests. The first time fine music could be listened to in there was at the Grand Opening concert on January 11, 2017. Due to the special interior architecture, no guest sits farther than 30m away from the director of the orchestra. The wall cladding on the inside consists of gypsum fiberboards, which together with a reflector in the middle of the vault reverberate the sound throughout the concert hall.
The Recital Hall supplies a perfect acoustics due to its wooden panelling. Both concert halls are acoustically autonomous and are detached completely from the rest of the giant building. Starting in February 2017, visitors are welcome to attend guided tours to learn about the architecture of the concert halls and the coming events. Barrier-free guided tours are also available. In the Kaistudios both a wide range of music education programs for children and families as well as workshops and holiday programmes are offered.
A 360° View of the City - the Plaza
The Plaza of the Elbphilharmonie offers a spectacular 360° view of the city of Hamburg, its famous harbour, and the HafenCity. Since November 2016, the public viewing platform is open to everyone from 9 am to midnight. As there is only a restricted capacity, the Elbphilharmonie offers Plaza tickets, which are free off charge and available via ticket machines in the Elbphilharmonie Visitor Center as well as in the main entrance area of the Elbphilharmonie. In case you would like to acquire the tickets beforehand, you are welcome to book them either online or in the Visitor Center, whereby a booking fee of 2€ per ticket applies, and you are only allowed to acquire six tickets at a time.
Visitors are welcome to enjoy the stunning view, discover more about the Plaza‘s interesting architecture or meet friends and family for coffee or a snack at the Deck & Deli. Besides the entrances to the Grand Hall and the Recital Hall, visitors will also find the lobby of The Westin Hamburg as well as the Elbphilharmonie Shop on the Plaza.
The fundament of the Elbphilharmony once was an old storage space from 1875, called the Kaiserspeicher, which was not only the largest warehouse in the port of Hamburg, but also the only one which made it possible for ships to dock directly. During WW II, the warehouse was severely damaged, which was why the ruins were blown up in 1963. In 1966, the new warehouse building, the Kaispeicher A, which stored cocoa, tobacco, and tea until the 1990s, was erected. As container traffic rose, the Kaispeicher A lost its importance and stood empty from then on. In 2003, the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron were commissioned to design a new concert hall on top of Kaispeicher A.
Four years later, the Parliament of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg voted pro the construction of the Elbphilharmonie and its foundation stone was laid immediately afterwards in April 2007. After numerous months of construction freeze, the internal construction started to make major advances in 2013. On January 31, 2014 the fitters attached the last glass element of the glass facade, which concluded the construction of Elbphilharmonie‘s exterior.
- Elbphilharmonie Hamburg is among the 3 best rated Tourist Attractions in Hamburg.
How to get there
Both the Underground line U3 (Baumwall) and U4 (Überseequartier) are close to the Elbphilharmonie. The bus stop Am Kaiserkai (Bus 111) is even closer to the building. Another alternative is the Ferry 72, which starts at Landungsbrücken and brings you right to the Elbphilharmonie.
Parking spaces for disabled visitors are available in the Elbphilharmonie multistorey car park, which offers 433 parking spaces for everyone at a charge of €4 per hour. Generally, free car parks close to the Elbphilharmonie and in the HafenCity are rare, wherefore public transport is highly recommended. Slightly away from the Elbphilharmonie there are two more parking garages available, Speicherstadt and Überseequartier.