Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík
by Henning Larsen Architects

| 17 comments

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

Copenhagen studio Henning Larsen Architects and Icelandic studio Batteriid Architects have completed a concert hall and conference centre in Reykjavík, Iceland, in collaboration with artist Olafur Eliasson.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

Panes of clear and colour-coated glass surround a steel framework of twelve-sided modules on the south facade of the Harpa Concert and Conference Centre.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

Inspired by basalt crystals, the faceted glass scatters reflections of the surrounding harbour and sky, and presents a glittering wall of light after dark.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

A flattened version of this geometry surrounds the other elevations of the building.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

Three large concert halls occupy the first floor, including one finished entirely in red, while a smaller fourth hall on the ground floor provides a venue for intimate performances and banquets.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre by Henning Larsen Architects

Visitors access the main foyer from a south-facing entrance, while staff and performers enter the backstage area from the north.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

The project was featured on Dezeen last year, when it was still under construction - see our earlier story here.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

See more projects by Henning Larsen Architects on Dezeen here, and more projects by artist Olafur Eliasson here.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

Photography is by Nic Lehoux.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

Here are some more details from Henning Larsen Architects:


Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Reykjavik gathers inspiration from the northern lights and the dramatic Icelandic scenery.

Situated on the border between land and sea, the Centre stands out as a large, radiant sculpture reflecting both sky and harbour space as well as the vibrant life of the city.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

The spectacular facades have been designed in close collaboration between Henning Larsen Architects, the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson and the engineering companies Rambøll and ArtEngineering GmbH from Germany.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

The Concert Hall and Conference Centre of 28,000 m2 is situated in a solitary spot with a clear view of the enormous sea and the mountains surrounding Reykjavik.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

The Centre features an arrival and foyer area in the front of the building, four halls in the middle and a backstage area with offices, administration, rehearsal hall and changing room in the back of the building.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

The three large halls are placed next to each other with public access on the south side and backstage access from the north.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

The fourth floor is a multifunctional hall with room for more intimate shows and banquets.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

Seen from the foyer, the halls form a mountain-like massif that similar to basalt rock on the coast forms a stark contrast to the expressive and open facade.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

At the core of the rock, the largest hall of the Centre, the main concert hall, reveals its interior as a red-hot centre of force.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

The project is designed in collaboration with the local architectural company, Batteríið Architects.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

 

Harpa - Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre forms part of an extensive harbour development project in Reykjavik, the East Harbour Project.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

As the name indicates, the overall objective of the project is to expand and revitalise Reykjavik's eastern harbour with a new downtown plaza, a shopping street, a hotel, residential buildings, educational institutions and mixed industry.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

The overall intention is to generate life in the area and to create a better connection between the city centre and the harbour.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

Situated outside the city's building mass, the building will become a significant icon in the city - a visual attractor with a powerful and varying expression.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

The isolated location will mean that, to a great extent, the changing climatic and light effects will be exposed in the facades of the concert building, often in contrast to the narrow and shady streets in the rest of the city.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

Henning Larsen Architects has designed the facade of the Concert Hall in close collaboration with the local architects Batteríið Architects and the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

As the rest of the building, the design of the facades is inspired by nature.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

In particular, the characteristic local basalt formations have provided the inspiration for the geometric facade structure.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

Made of glass and steel in a twelve-sided space-filling geometric modular system called the 'quasibrick', the building appears a kaleidoscopic play of colours, reflected in the more than 1000 quasibricks composing the southern facade.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

The remaining facades and the roof are made of sectional representations of this geometric system, resulting in two-dimensional flat facades of five and sixsided structural frames.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

In order to develop these ideas the team worked with three-dimensional computer models, finite element modelling, various digital visualisation techniques as well as maquettes, models and mock-ups.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

Light and transparency are key elements in the building.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

The crystalline structure, created by the geometric figures of the facade, captures and reflects the light - promoting the dialogue between the building, city and surrounding landscape.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

One of the main ideas has been to "dematerialise" the building as a static entity and let it respond to the surrounding colours - the city lights, ocean and glow of the sky.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

In this way, the expression of the facade changes according to the visual angle.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

With the continuously changing scenery, the building will appear in an endless variation of colours.

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

Click above for larger image

Harpa Concert and Conference Centre Reykjavík by Henning Larsen Architects

Click above for larger image

  • justin

    even more horrendous version of the javitts center.

  • felix

    Seems to be a very competent building. I like that there are natural looking photos of the façade done in normal lighting conditions, makes it more convincing that it'll look good in real life.

    A lot of similarities to Schmidt Hammer Lassen's Black Diamond library extension, also on the Copenhagen waterfront, which was built 12 years ago.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Diamond_(Copen

  • peter

    wow, this project is wrong on so may levels it is difficult to know where to begin. Its such a mish mash of different trendy ideas, its as if it was designed in a fashionable architectural pick and mix shop. The overarching concept of basalt just doesn’t hold the formal elements of the proposition together, each interpretation of the concept competes with the other where it ought really to complement it. Its just such a shame so much money and effort has been spent on such a poorly conceived building.

  • http://www.farmersfurniturehq.com Alexander Moreno

    Pretty impressive building. The third and fourth interior photos look a bit like the Tate in London. Any info/reviews on the acoustics for the concert hall and the smaller performance venue?

  • steef

    Isn't iceland supposed to be paying of a huge debt?

  • http://eu-jiji.blogspot.com Jiji

    I don't know how outdated the design of the 'outer skin' frame will look in 10 years.
    When looking at it I feel like seeing Philip Johnson's Crystal Cathedral or such.

  • jed

    the population of Reykjavik is around 120,000. they could probably all fit in here.

  • andsetinn

    This, let’s say hotly, discussed building was half built when the Icelandic economy crashed in 2008. It was decided to finish the building on the outside, it’s only partially finished on the inside, instead of having it stand there for years half built and of use to no one.

    Steef, Iceland is not supposed to be paying of bigger dept than many other countries.

    Jed, from earlier Dezeen story “building will accommodate four concert halls, the largest of which will accommodate up to 1,800 people”

  • Helgi

    The largest room takes about 1,800 people. The "large Reykjavik area" is about 200,000.
    The house is only partially finished on the inside and will not be finished until the Icelandic economy gets better.

  • yabes

    When I saw the project on magazines 3 years ago, I was expecting some kind of amazing light work and a festival of cristal like texture on the facades… then came the crisis, and budget cuts, and plan B etc…
    as a result, I went there 2 weeks ago and it's rather disappointing. Especially the envelope. Morover, dark colour makes it completely different than the initial project (at least images we've seen), kinda boring and flat.

    on the other hand, one must admit that the interior is something, light plays here a crucial role and the facetted glass creates a dynamic atmosphere inside.

    litteraly the interior is far better than the outside.

    unfortunately I couldn't go to a concert so no clue about the acoustics, but some people who went told me that it was kinda poor quality..

  • yabes

    When I saw the project on magazines 3 years ago, I was expecting some kind of amazing light work and a festival of cristal like texture on the facades… then came the crisis, and budget cuts, and plan B etc…

  • chunkbutler

    beautiful facade – looks like a dragonfly wing

  • http://musingcity.tumblr.com Jenny

    keep thinking the solar gain in this building would be ridiculous. Think of all the energy needed to cool it… Not all light is good light.

  • PAc o

    ?? Do they need air conditioning in iceland??

  • Arts

    I've heard that the acoustics are really good. I like the interior a lot, but this is monstrous in the small city scape.

  • Viking

    Not only is the building a bad example of architecture, it’s a terrible example of urbanism. No actual contact with the adjacent harbour and no consideration of the fantastic view to the ocean and surrounding mountains. In the minds of the common Icelander it is also a symbol for the economic crash in 2008.

  • Kenneth Smythe

    The building is a hodge-podge of elements and much of the surface is busy to the point of being a jarring distraction. The interior of the main concert hall is exceedingly uninviting. I would not want to be listening to the warmth of Brahms in this concert hall.