Iceland Part 4 – Architecture and Harpa


Harpa Staircase

Reykjavik is a very handsome city, located on the southeast corner of Iceland. One of the defining landmarks of Reykjavik is Harpa, the brilliant concert hall located right on the harbour.

Harpa was designed by the Danish firm Henning Larsen Architects in co-operation with Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. The structure consists of a steel framework clad with geometric shaped glass panels of different colours. The building was originally part of a redevelopment of the waterfront area, but the project was partially abandoned when the financial crisis took hold in 2008. In fact, the completion of the structure was uncertain until the government decided in 2008 to fully fund the rest of the construction costs for the half-built concert hall. For several years it was the only construction project in existence in Iceland!

This beautiful building houses the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the offices of The Icelandic Opera. We were lucky to see a performance of the symphony under the direction of Vladimir Ashkenazy. The concert hall acoustics are fantastic and you are struck by the deep red finish on the wood.


The interior and orchestra


Detail of the roof


Crazy geometries abound


Imagine trying to engineer this corner to be airtight!


Here’s the full exterior view


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