The €798 million Elbphilharmonie building, designed by architect Herzog and De Meuron, will host its inaugural concert this evening. The concert hall, on the banks of the river Elbe, was scheduled to open in 2010, but the project turned into a saga that led to political debates and public in protests. In November last year the windows of the 110-metre glass-clad building lit up with the words: Fertig – German for completed – and tonight more than 2,000 guests including German Chancellor Angela Merkel will attend a concert performed by the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra.
The building is a converted brick warehouse on the edge of a Unesco world heritage site. The new glass structure sits atop the original building and serves as a metaphor for “Hamburg’s self-image of building on tradition to create something new, as well as for the many contrasts that coincide within the city and make up Hamburg’s character.” Visitors travel through the building via an 82-metre curved escalator that leads to a plaza 37 metres above the ground. Inside there is a 2,100 seat auditorium inspired by terraced vineyards, a 500-seat recital Hall, a series of studio spaces, spaces for education activities, a hotel, apartments, restaurants, cafes and bars.
For those unable to attend the event, the Elbphilharmonie has partnered with Google Arts and Culture to live stream the performance, making 38,000 specially branded Google Cardboard headsets available to the public.
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