Candida Höfer. Elbphilharmonie Hamburg Herzog & de Meuron Hamburg 2016 © Candida Höfer / VG Bild Kunst, Bonn, 2016 Nur zur Berichterstattung über die Ausstellung "Elbphilharmonie Revisited", Deichtorhallen Hamburg

Elbphilharmonie concert hall documented by Candida Höfer

“Nothing comparable comes to my mind” says Candida Höfer after working on a series on the epic Elbphilharmonie concert hall by Herzog & de Meuron

As one of the leading fine art photographers from Germany, Candida Höfer is famous for a deadpan approach documenting architecture. She studied at the Düsseldorf Academy of Art in the early 1980s along with Andreas Gursky and Thomas Struth, all influenced by professors Bernd and Hilla Becher and the Neue Sachlichkeit movement. Höfer’s photographs of grand theatres, libraries, opera houses and Palladian palaces are well-known, but contemporary buildings have rarely featured in her work.

Elbphilharmonie Hamburg Herzog & de Meuron Hamburg 2016 © Candida Höfer / VG Bild Kunst, Bonn, 2016
Epic scale by Hrezog & de Meuron, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg,
© Candida Höfer / VG Bild Kunst, Bonn, 2016

Höfer’s recent project on the Elbphilharmonie concert hall in Hamburg, designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, stands out in her wide oeuvre for the subject matter. It is the most notorious contemporary building erected in Europe, which ran three times over budget, and is now the symbol of Hamburg’s cultural ambitions. Comparable to the Guggenheim-effect, it has drawn global attention and ultimately aims to transform the dockland area on the Elbe river. When invited to document it, Höfer couldn’t refuse, “I have lived in Hamburg for a while. I was curious and when the opportunity came I had to take it”, Höfer described the commission via email.

Candida Höfer. Elbphilharmonie Hamburg Herzog & de Meuron Hamburg 2016 © Candida Höfer / VG Bild Kunst, Bonn, 2016 , Elbphilharmonie
Entrance through curving escalator.
Elbphilharmonie Hamburg Herzog & de Meuron Hamburg 2016
© Candida Höfer / VG Bild Kunst, Bonn, 2016

As a result, twenty two large scale images exhibited at Deichtorhallen in Hamburg show the building from the basement to the rooftop, revealing its scale and majestic proportions in great detail. Her cool, meticulous approach frames the spaces with a controlled gaze. Through a career spanning almost forty years, Höfer’s detached objectiveness towards her subjects is evident in the new series. As observer and connoisseur I wonder if she could see any connection between the concert hall and any previous architectural movement. “There is really nothing comparable that comes to my mind”, Höfer affirms.

Elbphilharmonie Hamburg Herzog & de Meuron Hamburg 2016, © Candida Höfer / VG Bild Kunst, Bonn, 2016
Rooftop passage
© Candida Höfer / VG Bild Kunst, Bonn, 2016
For exhibition “Elbphilharmonie Revisited”

Delayed by six years, Herzog & de Meuron had to dig deep to complete such a project. With the old brick warehouse that remains below it, the concert hall rises 26 stories high, providing impressive spatial drama. Höfer’s interest in space plays with humanist ideals: archives, knowledge and cultural production, usually focusing on interiors. “Occasionally – as indeed in this case – I also do exteriors. Less because of the building itself, but because of its context”. The high-tech design of Elbphilharmonie is in total contrast to spaces previously observed through Höfer’s lens. “The character for me is a tension between the function that is ascribed to the space and the individuality with which it meets its obligations.”

"Elbphilharmonie Revisited" at Deichtorhallen Hamburg
Large scale photos by Höfer of Herzog de Meuron’s architectural models , showcased also at “Elbphilharmonie Revisited” at Deichtorhallen Hamburg until May 1st.

The “ElbPhilharmonie Revisited” exhibition will be at Deichtorhallen, Hamburg until May 1st.

Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle is exhibiting two of them in their current group show with Candida Höfer, Thomas Ruff and Thomas Struth.

All about context – new museums in Lisbon and Tartu

MAAT Museum, Lisbon by AL_A Architects, photo HuftonCrow
MAAT Museum, Lisbon by AL_A Architects, photo HuftonCrow

On the edges of EU, two museums opened in the fall of 2016, both designed as a continuation to the surrounding landscape. In Tartu, the Estonian National Museum was designed by Paris-based firm Dorell Ghotmet Tane. Near the Atlantic coast in Lisbon, a new addition to the MAAT museum was designed by Amanda Levete’s London firm AL_A Architects.

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Port House in Antwerp, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, photo ©Danica Kus

The year in Review

By Stephen Smith

A year of beauty and truth, death and collapse, frugality and austerity, exuberance and indulgence, of conceptual wranglings and contextual limitations, of the future and the past, of challenging and exigency. Architecture has always been a prism to perceive the world, and this year offers all the trappings of world in flux, of a world in conceptual misalignment as it comes to the apex point of a social, political and economic entanglement.

However, in many ways it is a year just like any other. We have flux, we have a change, we have peaks of progress and complexities and confusions. Name your year and I’ll show you a battle between two opposing arguments. In 2016, architecture has made us look outwards as well as within.

In this article we explore some of the places, exhibitions and events we’ve seen and enjoyed, and some of the other notable events that have rippled through our world, always with an eye on how it has reflected the world back towards us.

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Rio Maravilha, LX Factory

LX Factory, Lisbon’s industrial district saved from developers

Cobbled streets lined with artists studios, shops, great bars and restaurants – LX Factory exemplifies local creative culture at its best

By Marianna Wahlsten and Sofia Andrews

Lisbon has become one of the new creative hubs in the EU. Already before the Brexit vote tech entrepreneurs had been lured by financial incentives and a liberal attitude. The economic situation has been tough (for example many architects have been forced to move abroad or take up alternative creative work), but there is a flourishing start-up scene underpinned by positive synergy. And the situation also shows how difficulties and economic scarcity can inspire great individual creativity, something missing in the larger capital cities, such as London, where the state and big corporations seem to have the power.

Lx Factory, The Dorm
View from the entrance of The Dorm hostel, opened in September

In Lisbon spontaneity and authenticity are allowed to exist. About ten years ago artists and designers took up studios around the industrial zone of the Alcântara district located by the 25 de Abril suspension bridge. The old textile turned printing factory complex built in the 1840’s was meant to be demolished in order to pave way for new development. In light of the economic crisis, plans were pushed back and an investment group proposed a temporary occupation of the complex, giving birth to LX Factory (an ode to Warhol’s Factory in 1960’s NYC). Ever since people in the arts, fashion, media, design, photography and small companies have occupied the abandoned, derelict buildings and their vast industrial spaces.

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New heights: my flight up the new BAi360

BAi360, Brighton
BAi360 reaching up opposite the remains of the historic pier, image British Airways

A triumph of high-tech engineering on East Sussex coastline, designed by Marks Barfield

by Harri Närhi

In many ways, going up the i360 in Brighton, or the world’s tallest moving observation tower, is akin to flying. The whole experience is heavily mediated by the idea of air travel, visitors are greeted onto their ‘flight’ by British Airways staff acting as if to take you on a faraway journey, and indeed the view itself is something achieved only by an impressively high vantage point. i360 architects David Marks and Julia Barfield, creators of the world-renowned London Eye, have managed to deliver an experience so awe-inspiring it leaves you craving for more than your afforded 20-minute slot. The i360 might have taken a total of 12 years to conceive, but there’s a sense that it’s here to stay, and will ascend to the front stage of successful 21st century British landmarks.

i360, Brighton
The seafront by the BAi360 has been renovated and improved, photo: Harri Närhi

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Löyly Sauna by Avanto Architects, photo ©Ḳuvio

Helsinki waterfront hotspot – Löyly Sauna

A new take on a favourite summer ritual – the most spectacular public sauna by Avanto Architects

Löyly sauna by Avanto Architects
Wooden terrace constructed over the water, photo ©Kuvio

During high summer, from mid-June to mid-July, sun hardly sets down in the Finnish capital. Many locals escape to their waterside cottages to enjoy the long days. But now there is one more reason for staying in the city. The latest architectural hotspot is Löyly, a public sauna with a bar and restaurant designed by Avanto Architects on the Southern waterfront – literally the hottest meeting place this summer.

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