'Harpa' - Reykjavik's concert and conference centre

A concert was held to celebrate the May 2011 opening of the Icelandic capital’s newest attraction, which twinkles like a crystal in the old harbour. The concept was a dual effort from the Danish architectural office Henning Larsen and Iceland’s Batteriid Architects. 
Situated right next to the water, the sculptural form is made from two prismatic buildings with slanting edges that are all slightly offset from one another. A striking facade of glass and steel covers the building. Together with the architects, the artist Ólafur Elíasson helped design a honeycomb structure with glass elements that react to daylight and weather, producing an ever-changing pattern of colours.
Inspiration for ‘Harpa’ came from Iceland’s unique landscape and the different moods of light on the island. While its cube shape resembles the coastline’s jagged cliffs, the facade’s design reflects the typical basalt forms of Iceland’s volcanic landscape. The south side of the building, which faces the city, is made up of more than 1,000 12-sided glass modules set in a steel frame.
Meanwhile, for the structure of the north side on the waterfront, as well as the remaining facades and the roof surface, the architects made a cut through the three-dimensional façade on the south side. This gives a honeycomb pattern made from different hexagonal elements.
To achieve the twinkling effect, SCHOLLGLAS supplied prefabricated panes of insulated and laminated glass with ‘dichroic’ filters. The glass allows specific wave ranges of light through, while others are reflected, meaning that the colour changes depending on the weather and perspective. This dancing array of colours is caused by interference filters (adhesive metal oxide layers), which are applied to the glass in a dip-coating process. ‘Harpa’ features yellow, orange and green ones, which can be seen when viewed directly.  The respective complementary colours can be seen in the reflection.
Not only do the insulated panes provide effective thermal insulation, they are intelligently put together: the inner layer is mechanically connected to the substructure via a supporting u-section in the edge seal, while the outer layer is fixed with a defined adhesion. With this system, flush glass facades can be put together without any visible signs of construction or fixing.
Object: ‘Harpa’ Reykjavik Concert & Conference Center, Reykjavik / Iceland
Building owner: Austurnhofn TR – East Harbour Project Ltd.
Occupant: Harpa / Portus Group, Reykjavik / Iceland
Architect: Henning Larsen Architects HLA, Copenhagen / DK and Batteriid Architects, Hafnarfjordur / Iceland
Artistic planning of the facade: Studio Olafur Eliasson, Berlin / Ger, Copenhagen / DK and Henning Larsen Architects HLA, Copenhagen / Denmark
Facade planning: ArtEngineering GmbH, Rambøll, Mannvit Engineers, Hnit Verkis Consulting Engineers
Building company: IAV, Reykjavik / Iceland
Glass supplier: Schollglas Sachsen GmbH, Nossen/OT Heynitz / Germany
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