It was several years late on completion and ran ten times over budget, but strains to patience and purse strings are largely forgiven now that Hamburgers can swoon up at the “ElPhi.” On a peninsula of the Elbe river, the Herzog & de Meuron-designed building combines the red-brick Kaispeicher, formerly Hamburg’s biggest warehouse, with a soaring, new, glass-fronted structure on top. As well as its three concert venues, the building accommodates a hotel, residential apartments and various eateries, and is the unquestionable showpiece of a broader rejuvenation plan for the “HafenCity” district, not to mention the new star of Hamburg’s skyline. There’s still fierce competition for concert tickets, but the public access “Plaza” viewing platform allows for both an impression of the building’s interior and 360-degree view of the city and harbour. There are also guided tours outside of performance hours, available to book online or at the ticket office. If you want to keep things more spontaneous, just swing by and admire from the outside; with its roof contoured like wave crests and its façade of 1,000 curving window panels reflecting the sky, sunlight and water, much of ElPhi’s impact is exterior; as hefty as an Atlantic liner, as aqueous and shimmering as the sea.
Platz der Deutschen Einheit 1