Harpa - Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre

Harpa forms part of an extensive plan to expand and revitalize the eastern harbour of Reykjavik, as well as to improve the connection between this part of the harbour and the city centre. The building consists of both concert and conference facilities, including four main halls. Seen from the foyer, the configuration of the halls forms a sort of ‘massif’, recalling the rocky Icelandic coast, which contrasts to the expressive multifaceted glass façade that is the result of a unique collaboration with Studio Olafur Eliasson.

The changing daylight penetrating the façade creates a vibrant and adventurous play of light, shadow and color in the foyer. Inspired by the crystallised basalt columns commonly found in Iceland, the southern façades create kaleidoscopic reflections of the city and the surrounding landscape. Made of a twelve-sided space-filler of glass and steel that Eliasson calls ‘quasi brick’, the building appears as an ever-changing play of colour, reflected in the more than 1,000 three-dimensional bricks composing the southern façade. The remaining façades and the roof are made of sectional representations of this geometric system, resulting in two-dimensional flat façades of five and six-sided structural frames.

Light and transparency are the key elements of the building. Emerging on the border between the land and the sea, the crystalline structure captures and reflects the light – promoting a dialogue between the building, the city, and the surrounding landscape. One of the main ideas has been to ‘dematerialise’ the building as a static entity and let it respond to the surrounding colours of the city lights, ocean and glow of the sky.