Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik, Iceland
The MOST amazing building I’ve ever seen is located in the capital of Iceland. It opened in May 2011 after some delays that occurred during the financial crisis of 2008. The government funded the building, which is used for not only musical events, but also important political and cultural meetings.
Harpa is located on the old harbor in Reykjavik. The structure consists of a steel framework clad with geometric shaped glass panels of different colors. In winter, lights transform the exterior of the building into a display of the Aurora Borealis. During summer, sunlight shining through the glass panels creates patterns and colors on the floor. The design has won many architectural awards, including the most recent in 2013.
Ideas for a name for the concert hall came from Icelanders as well as designers. The name Harpa was chosen because it was easy to pronounce, and because it refers to a time of year and a month in the old Nordic calendar. The first day of that month is celebrated as the first day of summer when the landscape comes alive with color.
My photos show you the abstract beauty of the panes of glass. The image of the girl standing in the pane gives you a sense of the size of these panels. Notice the color everywhere.
I could have spent a day photographing this building. As it was, I had only one day to explore the city, so I couldn’t spend it all there. If I’m ever lucky enough to be in Reykjavik again, I’ll spend a lot of time at this site. I hope some of that time will be in the concert hall hearing a magnificent performance.
Enjoy this youtube video of the design and construction of this magnificent building.