To begin with, project developer, Alexander Gérard, had an idea. The final result is a building, that works like a natural force: The Elbphilharmonie in HafenCity, Hamburg, has a radiance that reaches well beyond the borders of Germany, and even Europe.
After construction of the building was completed in November 2016, more than 850,000 people attended concerts, 4.5 million people went sightseeing, to marvel at the impressive architecture, and 70,000 people participated in the guided tours of the concert hall – all in the first year of operation, 2017.
The construction and design of the building are anything but mundane. Originally, the building was meant to be based on the storehouse of the original philharmonic orchestra house; today, the only remaining constituents of the new building are the facade and parts of the old foundations. The baseplate is laid on 1732 posts, which were rammed deep into the bed of the Elbe.
The Elbphilharmonie has 26 storeys, and it is a total of 110 meters in height. In view of the number of storeys, it is understandable that the Cobiax voided flat plate slabs are of considerable value for the building.
Thanks to the Cobiax technology, it was possible to limit the entire weight of the Elphi, as the Hamburgers fondly refer to their new landmark, to 200,000 tons – only by reducing the weight of the slabs and the resultant reduction in the load of the entire building, made the construction of such an elegant building possible.
The Elbphilharmonie is an example of impressive freedom in construction. In the case of difficult construction surfaces, e.g. river beds and banks, or existing foundations that have to be used, the weight-reduction achieved with Cobiax voided flat plate slabs enables the construction of buildings that would not be realisable with conventional solid concrete slabs.
The entire building can be designed more flexibly; the options for use become very versatile. Greater areas can be spanned without the need for additional columns or beams, and the building gains grandeur, while the overall weight is reduced.
Besides the aesthetic and structural advantages, the ecological advantages of the Cobiax Technology also come to fruition: Thanks to the drastically reduced amount of concrete in the slab construction, the CO2 emissions greatly reduced, and considerably less building sand – a resource that is becoming increasingly scarce worldwide – is required.
In a large construction, like the Philharmonie, the logistic advantages also play a decisive role. Less concrete used in the construction also means: Fewer concrete mixer trucks driving to and from the construction site; the traffic in and around the Hamburg metropolitan area is significantly reduced.
As an isolated unit, the concert hall is completely separated from the rest of the building, in order to ensure the unique acoustics, without any interruption from the surrounding environment. Due to the use of Cobiax technology, the construction unit only weighs 12,500 tons; the weight is supported by 342 steel spring packages on the ground and 34 to the top storey, thereby separating the hall from the rest of the building in the deep frequency range.
In order to achieve acoustic neutrality in the middle and high frequency range as well, 10,000 tiles of highly compact plaster and old paper were installed in the walls and ceilings; they reduce the echo in the hall and disperse the sound optimally.
The result is superbly transparent acoustics, making the large concert hall of the Elbphilharmonie suitable for the greatest performers in the world: It is very unforgiving when it comes to mistakes, but it turns a perfect music performance into an incomparable experience for the listeners.
Image 1: © shutterstock.com/be/g/barnimages | Images 2 and 3: © shutterstock.com/be/g/faxus
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