Reflective Facade of Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg by Herzog and de Meuron

The glazing shell consists mainly of rhombus-shaped elements, but selected parts create distinct distorted reflections due to the convex exterior shapes of the glass – comparable.

Architect: Frank Gehry. Image © Gehry Partners, LLPThe glazing shell consists mainly of rhombus-shaped elements, but selected parts create distinct distorted reflections due to the convex exterior shapes of the glass – comparable to a contact lens resting on the façade.

The Elbphilharmonie is a concert hall in the HafenCity quarter of Hamburg, Germany, on the Grasbrook peninsula of the Elbe River. It is one of the largest and most acoustically advanced concert halls in the world. It is popularly nicknamed Elphi.

The glass façade at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg by Herzog & de Meuron refers to the visionary glass culture of Scheerbart, and indirectly to the golden shimmering skin of Berlin’s Philharmonic by Hans Scharoun as well. Inwardly and outwardly curved glass elements distort the perception of the city, water and sky. Due to the curves of the balconies, the building reflects points or lines of brilliant light streaks. With a blue or diffuse sky the distinctive curves reflect the light as bright lines, similar to the horizontal lines seen in the designs of the automotive industry. Under direct sunlight, bright glossy points appear and evoke a jewel-like shimmer. Additionally, the vertical and horizontal convex curves of numerous single glass elements reinforce the shiny distorted reflections of the sky. Overall the curved façade with its printed dot screens evokes a vivid and liquid image, which expresses a close link to the water around.

Architect: Frank Gehry. Image © Gehry Partners, LLP
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