A quick trawl through the rather intimidating OM Drafts folder reveals that Justin Davidson covered the start of construction of Hamburg’s iconic new concert hall about this time last year.
Designed by the firm Herzog & de Meuron, creators of the Tate Modern, the hall complex will contain 45 apartments, over 200 hotel rooms, 510 parking spaces as well as three concert halls.
The rice terrace seating seems to be catching on in new concert hall builds. Aesthetically, it’s a welcome change from boring old rows, marking a change in philosophy from concerts being a one-way conversation to a two-way experience. While some audience members will inevitably be seated further back than others, the soccer pitch arrangement (audience surrounding orchestra) means poor sightlines are gone for good. Relative to the traditional shoebox arrangement, all 2150 concert patrons will be able to sit quite a lot closer to the orchestra even if they’ve come on student cheapie and are relegated to the back row.
To balance all the egalitarian subtext, a knee jerk reaction: why must the acoustic panel on the ceiling look like the business end of a watering can?
So, what’s happened over the last 14 months or since Justin’s first report? According to the project’s super snazzy website, it has been fairly smooth sailing thus far and the late Summer 2010 opening is still a go.
“Demolition, gutting and foundation reinforcement work in the old Warehouse A has now been completed. So as to be able to bear the approx. 200,000 ton load of the future Elbe Philharmonic Hall Hamburg, a further 625 concrete piles were positioned in the silt of the Elbe to complement the 1,111 existing ones. The bottom plate and later the foundations were then cast.
Since the beginning of this year construction work on the basement levels has been making rapid progress. Around 100 workers are engaged in reinforcement and molding work on the two lower levels. The steel reinforcement sections, which still have to be fitted, serve to reinforce the concrete’s pressure resistance and tensile strength. There are initial outlines of elevator shafts and stairwells. First signs of the future underground car park newel in the gutted warehouse are slowly becoming visible.”
For those readers starving for more detailed information, webcams, brochures, photo galleries, 1:10 scale mockups and a snazzy Flash tour await at elbphilharmonie.de