Once we had decided we wanted to visit Hamburg in early December, we knew we wanted to try for concert tickets at the newly opened Elbphilharmonie. The minute the tickets went online we tried our best, but we certainly weren’t the only ones trying for tickets and as the website froze I knew we wouldn’t be among the lucky concert goers. Luckily, it’s still possible to go up and walk around the building and that’s just what we did. It was also a good thing that we went up just as they opened. By the time we left, the Plaza was filled with people.
The concert hall has been a source of controversy from the beginning. The estimated costs were 200 Million Euros and the final cost was 870 Million Euro. Instead of the intended 3 years to build the concert hall, 10 years were needed. Say what you will, this building designed by the prestigious Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron is a masterpiece. When building something new, I think it is important to be sure the structure fits in with the surrounding buildings or into the landscape, one of the reasons why I admire Frank Lloyd Wright’s or César Manrique’s work. The opera house in Oslo is such a modern building that is a perfect example of taking a modern building and giving is symbolic meaning. It is like an iceberg rising out of the water. Taking a close look at the Elbphilharmonie, I am certain that it too does. The sharp waves mimic the choppy water in the harbor and the windows reflect the sky giving it a feeling of lightness despite it’s size. The glass windows in the Plaza, which can be opened in summer, echo this lightness and were fun to experiment with while taking photos.