i visited hamburg last year, in september, and this herzog&de meuron wonder was just half finished. ever since, i’ve been watching its progress online and looking forward to its opening. the 2011/2012 season of this 400-million beauty will be opened by john malkovich on september the 26th.

as a declared h&dm fan, i love this multi-purpose building overlooking the ever changing harbour. when it will be completed, it will include, beside the 3 concerts halls, a hotel and 45 apartments. there will be a public plaza at 37-m up in the air, where people will be able to get 360 views of the city.

the website is full of super interesting details regarding the past, present and future of the building. it’s there that i found the following:

* for better acoustics, a special material was developed in order to reflect sounds in all directions. it’s called white skin and it’s used in the auditorium.

* you can visit the construction site on sundays. the tour starts in front of the elbphilarmonie pavilion nearby, which hosts an exhibition where you can listen to the elbphilarmonie of tomorrow.

*  you can browse through a cool interactive history in images. for those with a technically-inclined mind: u must click on everything! there’s a ton of amazing stuff!

* for architecture buffs: pierre de meuron answers 10 related questions.

* i’m not very impressed by cgi. but this video was made last year in order to introduce the building to the shanghai expo. until the actual opening, this is the best next thing:

i admire the municipality’s initiative of transforming an old warehouse into a breathtaking city highlight. they are also well into the future, already promoting and selling the future building: even if the construction site is still working, they will use the already completed plaza for a series of free, open air concerts. an inspiring attitude that shows a progressive and open-minded management.

i only wonder how much such vision will there be used in building the 600-million cathedral planned by the romanian authorities…will they use the genius of out-of-this-world architects? or modern technology? will they use the building as an attraction and lure tourists to bucharest? will it be green? will they make the expenses transparent? will the final result be a cathedral people will relate to and like? i fear not…

photo and video credits: google search