The Elbphilharmonie is among the most structurally fascinating concert halls in the world. Situated at the center of Hamburg, Germany, it is regarded as the most acoustically advanced space ever built. Well, it’s quite appropriate for Hamburg to brag such an advanced concert hall, the city that celebrates composers like Johannes Brahms and Gustav Mahler.
The magnificence of this hall lies in its auditorium. It was designed parametrically with algorithms helping construct the incredible fiber panels along the auditorium’s walls. Several objects have been designed by making use of parametric design. But, the Elbphilharmonie used algorithms to individually craft each of the 10,000 fiber panels.
‘One to One’ is the design studio behind the creation of each panel. The company, found by Benjamin Koren, does not back away from difficult or unique projects. One to One also worked on the Philharmonie de Paris. In an interview with ‘Wired’, Koren said, “Every panel has a function.”
Small shell-like divots are included in the panels themselves. These remarkable cells assist in shaping the sound as it bounces throughout the auditorium. No two panels absorb and reflect sound in the same way, however all 10,000 pieces together craft an incredible reverb throughout, as told by Koren. 13-year labor of love has resulted in the formation of finished product. One to One teamed up with Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron.
It was observed by Koren that he is not capable of doing the project without Yasuhisa Toyota. Toyota served as chief acoustician on several major projects, including the Walt Disney Hall and the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Toyota made the optimal sound map for the auditorium’s proposed design. Then, an algorithm was created by Koren and his team by means of Toyota’s layout and the architects’ visual preferences.
Koren told; “That’s the power of parametric design. Once all of that is in place, I hit play and it creates a million cells, all different and all based on these parameters. I have 100 percent control over setting up the algorithm, and then I have no more control.”
Among 2,100 seats of the hall, there is not a single seat that is more than 30 meters away from the conductor. This helps in intensifying the richness of the hall’s amazing acoustics, thereby delivering an immersive experience.
The Elbphilharmonie has been nicknamed as Elphi and is the tallest occupied building in Hamburg at 108 meters (354 ft). Herzog & de Meuron hold that the public image of the building must be eye-catching and appealing to the public:
“Too often a new cultural center appears to cater to the privileged few. In order to make the new Philharmonic a genuinely public attraction, it is imperative to provide not only attractive architecture but also an attractive mix of urban uses.”
Nevertheless, the Elphi’s exterior reminds its purpose which is to turn into a central figure for diversity in the arts. The group stated; “Spectacular architecture, musical diversity, openness and accessibility to all – the Elbphilharmonie unites all the multifaceted aspects Hamburg has to offer and helps broaden the view through Hamburg as a gateway to the world, as the city has prided itself on doing for generations.”
The Elbphilharmonie will live-stream concerts for the public, in case anyone is incapable of buying a plane ticket to Hamburg. Take a look at some of the opening concert below: