Friday01 August 2014

Work stalls on Herzog & de Meuron's Hamburg Elbphilharmonie

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Technical row stops work on four areas of building

Work has stalled on Herzog & de Meuron’s Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg following a series of technical difficulties, leaving the future of the project in jeopardy.

Contractor Hochtief has stopped work on four areas of the building — the single-skin unitised glass facade, the steel roof support structure, the 82m-long escalator and the building services. It has blamed differences between its plans and those drawn up by architect Herzog & de Meuron.

The German contractor has said work cannot continue on these areas, and is now calling for a complete reorganisation of the project team.

A spokesperson for Hochtief told local newspaper the Hamburger Abendblatt: “The way things are going, we won’t be able to bring the project to a positive conclusion.”

One of the main problems centres around the steel roof support structure, which Hochtief believes would be unsafe. The saddle roof is expected to carry a load weighing the equivalent of 14 Airbus A380s — approximately 3,800 tonnes, which Hochtief said was not comparable to other such structures.

But Karl Olaf Petters of the Elbphilharmonie said: “The static plans for the roof have been certified by an independent safety engineer as well as by the responsible building control authority of Hamburg. However, the building company Hochtief is refusing to fulfil the approved planning. “Hochtief certainly has problems building the roof and therefore tries to place the responsibility for the delay on the City of Hamburg [the client].”

The concert hall, which will seat 2,150 people when complete, is located on a pier jutting out into Hamburg’s Elbe river, and incorporates the renovated 1963 Kaispeicher A warehouse, designed by Werner Kallmorgen.

Construction started in April 2007 and completion was planned for 2010. However, the latest opening date of April 2014 is now unlikely to be achieved.

Herzog & de Meuron was not available for comment.


Readers' comments (1)

  • zecks_marquise

    Nothing is unbuildable but the contractor has suddenly realised that it can't afford to build it. No surprise really. I would be surprised if any starchitect project was ever on budget.

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