A Honeycomb Harmony

The country of Iceland has a prosperous economy now, thanks to the Harpa Concert Hall and conference center! The nation started development of its eastern harbor for tourism and economic progress under the East Harbor Project, with this iconic structure of this ‘honeycomb harmony’.

The Harpa Concert Hall and conference center of 28,000 square meters area is situated in the capital city of Reykjavik in Iceland, in a solitary spot overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and stands out from the rest of the terrain in terms of her crystalline outlook and responsive expressions of light. Inspired by basalt crystals, the façade of the building is made entirely from glass and steel to produce this crystal skin.

A twelve-sided module of glass and steel called the ‘quasi-brick’ is used for the southern wall which marks the all-welcoming entry to her guests. The glass bricks are good sound insulators too, protecting the music inside from the outdoor noises of the city. Remaning sides have hexagonal and pentagonal two-dimensional glass panes which comprehend the overall concept on all four sides.

Schott Narima dichroic glass was used in the quasi-bricks which has one color for its surface and reflects a different color, thereby rendering a kaleidoscopic spectacle to the eyes, at different times of the day, at different times of the year. No wonder why she won the Meis van der Rohe award in 2013!

One arrives in front of the southern façade into the foyer from where the four halls in the middle form a mountain-like massif similar to the basalt rocks on the coast. At the heart of the rock, the largest hall of the building, the main concert hall, is positioned where she reveals her interior as a red-hot centre of force.  The foyer and balconies are eloquently lit by the northern sun with colorful shadows falling onto the liberated tourist.  Further facilities include a backstage area with offices, administration, rehearsal hall and changing room in the back of the building. The fourth floor hosts a multifunctional hall for more intimate shows and banquets.

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. Light and transparency are key elements of the design. To dematerialize the building from a static entity to an alive being, the crystalline edifice was created by the geometric figures of the façade that captures and reflects the light – a never-ending poem written together by the building, city and surrounding landscape in a varying spectrum of colors.