Slide: 7 / of 9 from January 2017 Wired article: The panels were slotted into place like pieces of a puzzle. Photo Ben Koren.

The talk of the town here in Hamburg is the Elbphilharmonie. All of its shows sold out immediately. The New York Times explained how Director of the Elphilharmonie Mr. Lieben-Seutter then “resorted to offering tickets for ‘blind dates,’ events of an unspecified genre featuring yet to be determined performers. Those, too, have sold out.”

A friend of ours went this last Saturday determined to get a ticket. For an 8 pm performance, she arrived at 6:30 to stand in line at the ticket shop for the few tickets (apparently about 30 for 60 people) made available just before the show. When the last ticket sold, she held a card saying that she was searching for tickets. And a subscription holder sold her one. So there is hope.

What’s particularly exciting for me, as this Wired article from January 2017 describes, is the way that the building was designed. Having taught the history of computational architecture as part of my Art and Electronic Media class at Florida State University and now at Davidson College, visiting the Elbphilharmonie, is an ideal way to update that research. More from the Wired article about its design:

The auditorium—the largest of three concert halls in the Elbphilharmonie—is a product of parametric design, a process by which designers use algorithms to develop an object’s form…“That’s the power of parametric design,” he [acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota] says. “Once all of that is in place, I hit play and it creates a million cells, all different and all based on these parameters. I have 100 percent control over setting up the algorithm, and then I have no more control.”


Strategies for parametric design in the Elbphilharmonie by Korean acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota with Herzog and De Meuron

And the final results…

Herzog and De Meuron, Elbphilharmonie, 2007–2016, Hamburg, Germany