The new landmark on the city’s harbor is located near the shores of the Elbe river.
Construction started in 2007 and came with a hefty price tag at €800 million euros, but five years later it opened its doors to the public amid great fanfare. Since then, someone million people have visited it.
One of those visitors told Euronews: “It’s a very special building, not just for Hamburg, but for all of Germany and Europe even. It has something magical about it and we should cherish this jewel and look after it carefully.”
The Elbphilharmonie is an important part of Hamburg’s cityscape, but it has also been a source of frustration for residents because of the disruption that accompanied its construction. The building was built by Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron who won a competition in 2001.
According to Pia Findeiss from the company behind the project, USP, the first challenge was to create a building that suited its location on the shore of the Elbe.
“The first challenge was to design something for this site, which is one of the most amazing locations in Hamburg or even Germany. It’s right at the water where you have fantastic views over all of Hamburg, but it’s also a very windy location.”
The other big problem was not the building itself but the acoustics within it because of its unusual shape. The architects had to work closely with experts, including one who had already worked on the designs for the Sydney Opera House and Vienna’s Musikverein.
While the first half of the building contains a hotel, concert hall, and restaurants, there are also apartments inside.
All 380 residential units have been bought but none has yet been lived in because of problems within Hamburg’s property market. Some people are unhappy that they can’t use them as holiday homes despite having signed contracts.
The Elbphilharmonie has also been subject to some unwelcome headlines, such as the time when a part of the building broke free and dangled precariously over city center streets, but it hasn’t managed to overshadow its importance as a cultural landmark for Hamburgers and Germans alike.