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Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg, Germany
Flagship building for German´s northern metropolis

AN ICEBERG IN HAMBURG´S HARBOUR

Flagship building for Germany´s northern metropolis

  • Project:
    Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg, Germany
  • Architect:
    Herzog de Meuron, Basel, Switzerland
  • Project completion:
    2016
  • Product:
    AQUAPANEL® Cement Board Outdoor
    and AQUAPANEL® Cement Board Indoor
  • Application area:
    Exterior walls and ceilings, interior walls
  • Type of building:
    Public building (concert hall), residential building, hotel

Right from the start, Hamburg’s new Elbphilharmonie has become an architectural icon, resembling a giant iceberg that towers over the “Hafen-City”. It is the highlight of the metropolis’ refurbished former warehousing area and Europe’s biggest on-going urban infrastructure project, and was conceived by Swiss star architects Herzog de Meuron. The two-part building consists of a lower section created from an historic warehouse, and above that a delicate structure of steel and glass. The latter not only contains one of the world’s finest concert halls but also exclusive residential spaces and a stylish design hotel – all accessed through a spectacular public plaza.

Located on the eighth floor, this plaza is the key component of the whole structure. The spacious area connects the upper and the lower sections of the building. And while its outside loggia is open to the public and quickly became a tourist attraction of its own, its inside is the access gateway to the concert facilities and the backstage area, as well as The Westin Grand boutique hotel. Being one of the most visible and most-frequented areas of the Elbphilharmonie, the plaza’s importance was to be matched with an appropriate design.

The plaza is a fluid connection between inside and outside. Its exterior ceiling, formed in organic, wave-like shapes, had to fulfil a variety of technical and physical requirements. Following the design wishes of the architect, the construction planning took into account weather conditions, humidity, wind pressure and suction in the wind-exposed location. To cope with these requirements, a lightweight substructure with high corrosion resistance was formed out of bent steel and clad with highly resistant drywall boards. For this application AQUAPANEL® Cement Board Outdoor was the material of choice, which could easily be mounted on the tailor-made sub-structure.

To match the challenges of the almost maritime climate and high humidity of the location by the harbour AQUAPANEL® Cement Board Outdoor offers the perfect physical attributes. It is based on 100 % inorganic materials and therefore waterproof and highly resistant to mould and mildew. The cement boards of the double-layer construction could easily be formed into the required organic wave-like forms. Thus the plaza’s exterior ceiling achieves a gentle flow, connecting the interior and exterior in a soothing and highly pleasing manner.

Our drywall solution contributed greatly to the Elbphilharmonie’s magnificent plaza by helping to shape the exterior ceiling. But AQUAPANEL® Cement Board was also used in several other areas of this landmark development. For example when it came to the construction of bathrooms or the kitchen in the Westin Grand hotel. Here our AQUAPANEL® Cement Board Indoor proved enormously helpful, also due to its water resistance as a substrate for tiling in a highly humid surrounding. Besides that its sound insulation properties and also its high stability now add to the guests’ comfort and the overall functionality of the hotel.

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