After a six-year delay part of Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie will finally open to the public on 4 November. Its plaza space – which connects the old and new buildings that make up the complex – will give visitors a view of the Norderelbe River and a taste of what the project will be like once it is completed. The new hall itself opens on 11 January.
Even by concert hall standards Elbphilharmonie has been a difficult project. Its original budget of €77m has shot up to €789m, while construction has taken six years longer than expected. In fact, it is 13 years since Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron began work on the building 2003. Construction began on 2 April 2007, but was delayed for more than a year due to a disagreement between the construction company Hochtief, the architects and the city.
Now though the building work is over, with only the fixtures and fittings to be installed. The building includes a 2,100-seat concert hall, a 500-seat chamber hall, a restaurant and rehearsal spaces. The impressive glass exterior extends more than 100 metres into the sky, creating a wave-like silhouette.
Resident orchestra NDR Elbphilharmonie opens the hall on 11 January with a world premiere of a piece by Wolfgang Rihm, conducted by Thomas Hengelbrock and featuring tenor Jonas Kaufmann. It marks the start of a three-week long festival to celebrate the building’s completion (details of the programme have yet to be released).