The Kaispeicher A

In the presence of Hamburg‘s then-first mayor Ole von Beust, CEO of Hochtief Construction AG Henner Mahlstedt, project coordinator Hartmut Wegener, minister of culture Karin von Welck, and architect Pierre de Meuron, the construction began for the Kaispeicher A warehouse on April 2, 2007.

Timeline of Restoration: Elbphilharmonie Hamburg - Sheet1
The Kaispeicher _©By K.l.a.u.s., CC BY-SA 2.0 de,

The development was expected to cost €241 million and be completed by 2010 when it was first planned in 2007. After the original contract was modified, the project’s expenses were estimated at €450 million in November 2008. The price tag was revised to about €500 million in August 2012, which would also include the higher cost of a stronger roof.

On October 31, 2016, construction work was declared complete at for €866 million. On November 25, 2016, the Elbphilharmonie hosted its first public test performance. The NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra performed as part of the official inauguration concert on January 11, 2017, under the leadership of Thomas Hengelbrock.

How the Change took place

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The Elbphilharmonie Hamburg under construction _©By Foto: Reinhard Kraasch, Lizenz: CC-BY-SA 4.0 DE, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The old warehouse was first reduced to its iconic brick facade for historical purposes. The warehouse foundations required to be strengthened by adding 650 more reinforced concrete piles on top of the 1,000 or so already present piles to support the Elbphilharmonie’s over 200,000 tons of total weight. The performance hall’s rehearsal and storage sections, as well as parking lots, are now located on the warehouse levels. The approximately 3,100m2 plaza, which offers a breathtaking 360° view, serves as the transition between a renovated warehouse and a new-build component. The spectacular 82 m-long escalator that connects the eastern entrance portal to the western face, where it rises to a height of 37 m, provides access to this public viewing deck.

Elbphilharmonie Hamburg

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Elbphilharmonie Hamburg Conceptual Sketch_©

The Elbphilharmonie, also known as Elphi, is a music venue located in Hamburg’s HafenCity neighborhood on the Grasbrook peninsula of the Elbe River. It is one of the biggest on the entire planet. A brand-new glass building that was built on top of an ancient brick warehouse (Kaispeicher A, built in 1963) next to the historic Speicherstadt has the appearance of a hoisted sail, a wave of water, an iceberg, or a quartz crystal. The project was the result of a private initiative by the art historian and real estate developer Jana Marko and her husband, the architect Alexander Gérard, who commissioned the Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron to create the original design and developed and promoted the project for 3.5 years before the City of Hamburg decided to proceed with its development. With a final height of 108 meters, it was to be the tallest inhabited structure in Hamburg and the centerpiece of the new Hafencity development (354 ft).

The location is a tiny triangular peninsula where the former Kaispeicher A, a warehouse that was still in operation at the turn of the 20th century. Now, the Elbphilharmonie is supported by the solid warehouse structure. The enormous warehouse was transformed into a radical, abstract structure owing to its sturdy brick facades, which also serve as an amazingly suitable base for the new Philharmonic hall.

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Elbphilharmonie Hamburg _©Iwan Baan

The new structure was created by extruding it from the Kaispeicher’s form. The top and bottom of the new building are substantially distinct from the placid form of the warehouse below, despite growing above the brick block with a similar ground plan: the broad, meandering shape of the roof reaches up to 110 meters at the cap of the peninsula. The new building’s base is an animated plaza that is separated into zones that range in slope from flat to very steep and are identified by extensive vaulting. Hamburg’s city may be seen dramatically through an archway built into the side wall that displays the sky. Views of the foyers on various levels are provided through deep slits built into the building above the plaza. In contrast to the stoic brick facade below, this mass is covered in a variety of curved and cut glass panels.

The building’s main entrance is to the east, and an escalator that curves and extends across the entire warehouse takes visitors to the upper plaza. This provides a unique spatial experience that enhances the sweeping staircases found in music halls from the beginning of the 20th century. Visitors go to the top when they step onto a plaza located atop the Kaispeicher and offering easy access to the new performance hall’s entryway.

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Elbphilharmonie Hamburg Section _©

There are three concert halls at the Elbphilharmonie. The Great Concert Hall has a capacity of 2,100 people, and it is set out in the vineyard style, with the artists in the middle and the audience surrounding them. Yasuhisa Toyota created the acoustics, installing around 10,000 uniquely micro-shaped drywall plates to disperse sound waves. A Klais Orgelbau pipe organ with 69 registers may be found in the Great Concert Hall. The Recital Hall can accommodate 550 spectators and is used for recitals, chamber music performances, and jazz concerts. There is also the Kaistudio, which can accommodate 170 visitors and is used for educational programs. Ducks Scéno served as the music hall’s scenography consultant.

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Elbphilharmonie Hamburg Aerial View _©Maxim Schulz

Westin, who operates the Westin Hamburg Hotel, which debuted on November 4, 2016, leases the building’s easternmost portion.  Between the ninth and twentieth floors, the hotel has 244 rooms. From the Plaza, one can access the lobby on the eighth story. There are 45 luxury flats on the top floors to the west of the concert venue. Additionally, the facility has a spa, dining establishments, and bars. The building complex also has a parking garage with room for 433 automobiles.

Elbphilharmonie Hamburg Standing Magnificently _©Maxim Schulz

The Elbphilharmonie, a landmark that can be seen from a distance, does give the city’s horizontal orientation a completely new accent and represent Hamburg’s entry into the harbor area along the Elbe’s coasts.


1) Arquitectura Viva (2018). Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Hamburg – Herzog & de Meuron. [online] Arquitectura Viva. Available at:

2) Wikipedia Contributors (2019). Elbphilharmonie. [online] Wikipedia. Available at:

3) (n.d.). Happy Birthday, Elbphilharmonie! [online] Available at:

4) (n.d.). Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie concert hall turns 5 – DW – 01/11/2022. [online] Available at:

5) (n.d.). Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall. [online] Available at:

6) (2017). Elbphilharmonie Hamburg | Herzog & de Meuron, Elbphilharmonie, Villeroy & Boch AG | Archello. [online] Archello. Available at:


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