Lonely Planet Writer

See Hamburg’s incredible new concert hall plaza and other amazing buildings

As Hamburg’s incredible new concert hall Elbphilharmonie is set to open in January, a new viewing platform in the building has just opened to the public.

Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg.
Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. Image by Maxim Schulz

The Elbphilharmonie Plaza’s observation deck sits between the lower building – a former warehouse – and the incredible glass structure above. The plaza is designed as a public square concept and is located 37 metres above ground level. Visitors can head up to the deck via an 82-metre-long, curved escalator which leads to a large panorama window. From there, there is a second smaller escalator and stairs to the plaza itself, where there is an exterior walkway around the building that offers views of the city and the harbour.

Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg.
Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. Image by Maxim Schulz

The plaza officially opened over the weekend, with musical performances and celebrations. It’s the first step in opening the incredible facility, which will include three concert halls, a musical education area, places to eat and drink, a hotel and the public plaza.

Visitors walk through the large hall of the newly-completed Elbphilharmonie concert hall on November 4, 2016 in Hamburg, Germany. Designed by the archiecture firm Herzog and de Meuron and begun in 2007, the Elbphilharmonie was originally slated to be completed by 2010 at a cost of EUR 241 million. Instead it was finally finished on October 31, 2016 at a cost of EUR 789 million. Germany has been burdened with a string of high-profile construction projects whose completion has been years delayed and whose costs have ballooned. The first public concert at the Elbphilharmonie is scheduled for January 11, 2017 as part of its official opening.
Visitors walk through the large hall of the newly-completed Elbphilharmonie concert hall on 4 November, 2016 in Hamburg, Germany. The first public concert is scheduled for 11 January, 2017 as part of its official opening. Image by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Herzog & de Meuron, the Swiss architects behind the incredible concert hall, said in a statement that the plaza’s special significance is a place where anyone is welcome: “The Elbphilharmonie is much more than just a spectacular concert hall. It is a unique place, which reflects Hamburg’s social and cultural life. With the Plaza, we wanted to create a place for everyone with a unique panorama: the outward-looking design of the spacious terrace, sprawling on the warehouse like a new public square, counterbalances the inward focus of the philharmonic hall above it”. The Elbphilharmonie will open in January with its inaugural musical performances. But the concert hall isn’t Herzog & de Meuron’s only incredible building.

 A general view of the Tate Modern's new Switch House on June 14, 2016 in London, England. The Tate Modern art gallery unveils its new Switch House building today designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron.
A general view of the Tate Modern’s new Switch House on June 14, 2016 in London, England. The Tate Modern art gallery unveils its new Switch House building today designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron. Image by Jack Taylor/Getty Images

In June, the Tate Modern in London opened its new Switch House, as an extension to the building that was designed by the architects.

Parking Garage, Herzog & De Meuron, Miami, 2010, United States,
Parking Garage, Herzog & De Meuron, Miami, 2010, United States, Image by HUFTON + CROW/Getty Images

Their incredible touch even extended to a parking garage on Lincoln Road in Miami, which opened in 2010.

New Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), Downtown, Miami, Florida, USA. Formerly known as Miami Art Museum. Designed by Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron.
New Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), Downtown, Miami, Florida, USA. Formerly known as Miami Art Museum. Designed by Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron. Image by Barry Winiker/Getty Images

When Pérez Art Museum Miami relocated in 2013 to a new building, the new structure was also designed by the architecture firm.

National Stadium, 2008 Beijing Olympics, China. Designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron.
National Stadium, 2008 Beijing Olympics, China. Designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron. Image by Tim Griffith/Getty Images

They’ve even collaborated with famous artists like Ai Weiwei on the Beijing National Stadium.

Japan, Tokyo . Aoyama, Prada Aoyama Building (architect 2001 Pritzker Prize winner Herzog and De Meuron).
Japan, Tokyo . Aoyama, Prada Aoyama Building (architect 2001 Pritzker Prize winner Herzog and De Meuron). Image by Atlantide Phototravel/Getty Images

A Prada store in Tokyo was designed by the architects, which the fashion house says is the “first building by Herzog & de Meuron in which the structure, space, and façade form a single unit”. 

And to see even more of the Elbphilharmonie before its grand opening, it can be toured virtually on the Google Cultural Institute.