Keywords Change this

Organic Architecture, Potsdamer Platz, Kulturforum Berlin

Project timeline

1960 – 1963


Culture & Entertainment

Location Change this

Herbert von Karajan-Str. 1
10785 Berlin

Current state


Also known as Change this

Berliner Philharmonie, Berlin Philharmoniker

Architect Change this

Berlin Philharmonic Hall Change this

Berlin, Germany
by Hans Scharoun Change this
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Description Change this

The Berlin Philharmonic Hall designed by Hans Scharoun was completed in 1963. The iconic building is asymmetrical in shape appearing like a golden, draped tent. The concert hall is still highly regarded for its original design and acoustic qualities.


The Philharmonie is comprised of two venues with a connecting lobby, including a large auditorium with 2,440 seats for orchestral concerts and a slightly smaller chamber-music hall, with 1,180 seats. Although conceived as an ensemble, the smaller venue was only added in the 1980's.

The Berliner Philharmonie was one of the first concert buildings to be designed with a central stage, surrounded by audience seating on all four sides. When looking at a section of the building, the main auditorium is shaped to project sound in all directions. The angular ceiling is draped over the auditorium space which heightens the rhythmic sounds.

Programmatically the building is simple, however the design formally expresses complex interior spaces that are then reflected through to the exterior. The 'draping' effect of the interior and the angular composition are expressed in the volume of each each hall design.

The exterior facades are dynamic which compliment and establish a relationship with Tiergarten, Berlin's famous gardens situated to the north of the Philharmonic. The curve and angle of the facades create a soft backdrop within the forested landscape.

In addition to the form, the facade is also distinctly recognisable from the golden, metal mesh that clads the exterior.

On fire

On 20 May 2008 a fire broke out in the hall. One-quarter of the roof had considerable damage, as firefighters were required to cut openings in order to reach the flames beneath the roof. The hall interior sustained water damage but was otherwise "generally unharmed". Firefighters limited the damage by using foam. The cause of the fire was attributed to welding work, and no serious damage was caused either to the structure or interior of the building. Concerts resumed on 1 June 2008.


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