Harpa - Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre

CompanyHenning Larsen Architects
Lead DesignerHenning Larsen Architects and Batteriid Architects
Design Team
PrizeBronze in Architectural Design / Cultural Architecture

Harpa emerges on the border between land and sea. The building stands out as a large, radiant sculpture reflecting both sky and harbor space, as well as the vibrant city life of Reykjavik. Harpa constitutes a striking addition to the Icelandic and European cultural scene and has become a landmark in the redevelopment of Reykjavik’s historic harbor and waterfront area—as well as a symbol of Iceland’s renewed dynamics. The 28,000-square-meter building comprises both concert and conference facilities, including four main halls, exhibition spaces, and several meeting rooms. The halls all have independent identities, while at the same time forming part of the overall perception of the building. All halls are equipped with flexible acoustic elements to support a wide range of events. The main concert hall is capable of accommodating up to 1,800 people. Seen from the foyer, the halls form a massif that — similar to rock on the coast — forms a stark contrast to the expressive, open façade. At the core, the largest hall of the building, the main concert hall, unfolds its interior as a glowing center of force. The changing daylight penetrating the façade creates a vibrant, adventurous play of light, shadow, and color in the foyer. Harpa’s multifaceted glass façades are the result of a unique collaboration between the renowned artist Olafur Eliasson and Henning Larsen Architects. The design is based on a geometric principle, actualized in two and three dimensions. Inspired by the crystallized basalt columns commonly found in Iceland, the southern façades create kaleidoscopic reflections of the city and the magnificent surrounding landscape. Sustainability has been a guiding parameter in the overall architectonic arrangement of the museum. Fundamental elements such as the building’s geometry and orientation have been considered in order to maximize every square meter.