Hamburg, Germany aims to build one of the acoustically best concert halls in the world, admist one of Europe's worst economic crises in recent history.
Isabelle de Pommereau
• A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.
Christian Becker calls the project “insane” at a time when libraries are cutting hours and kindergarten prices are up. But Hans Christian Riekhof sees it as “an investment in the future” that will draw tourists and boost the local economy.
What’s dividing the two Hamburg residents – and this city on the Elbe River – is a controversial cultural behemoth. Plans for the Elbe Philharmonic Hall, or “Elbphilharmonie,” envision a concert hall built on top of a former warehouse on the harbor that could seat 2,150 people in “acoustically one of the best concert halls in the world,” according to acoustic designer Yasuhisa Toyota, who refurbished the Sydney Opera House in Australia.
City officials see it as a new world landmark that could make Hamburg almost as famous as Paris and New York City. When finished, the 667,000 square-foot glass structure will rise 360 feet above the Elbe River, its 26 floors curling into a series of waves reflecting the sky, water, and city.