The Berliner Philharmonie is a concert hall in Berlin, Germany. Home to the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the building is acclaimed for both its acoustics and its architecture. The Philharmonie lies on the south edge of the city's Tiergarten and just west of the former Berlin Wall, an area that for decades suffered from isolation and drabness but that today offers ideal centrality, greenness, and accessibility. Its cross street and postal address is Herbert-von-Karajan -Straße, named for the orchestra's longest-serving principal conductor. The neighborhood, often dubbed the Kulturforum, can be reached on foot from the Potsdamer Platz station. Actually a two-venue facility with connecting lobby, the Philharmonie comprises a Großer Saal of 2,440 seats for orchestral concerts and a chamber-music hall, the Kammermusiksaal, of 1,180 seats. Though conceived together, the smaller venue was added only in the 1980s. Hans Scharoun designed the hall, which was constructed over the years 1960-1963. It was built to replace the old Philharmonie, destroyed by British bombers on 30 January 1944, the eleventh anniversary of Hitler becoming Chancellor.
The hall is a singular building, asymmetrical and tentlike, with the main concert hall in the shape of a pentagon. The seating offers excellent positions from which to view the stage through the irregularly increasing height of the seat rows. The stage is at the center of the hall, with seats surrounding it on all sides. The Philharmonie is highly regarded for the quality of its acoustics. The so-called vineyard-style seating arrangement (with terraces rising around a central orchestral platform) was pioneered by this building, and became a model for other concert halls, including the Sydney Opera House (1973), Denver's Boettcher Concert Hall (1978), the Gewandhaus in Leipzig (1981), Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles (2003), and the Philharmonie de Paris (under construction).
During the 1980s, the facade of the Philharmonic Concert Halls was provided with a cladding of gold-anodized aluminum plates; originally it was a white and ocher painted concrete facade. Scharoun's original designs had planned a similar cladding, which was not implemented at the time for cost reasons. After the reunification of Berlin Potsdamer Platz, adjacent to the east of the Kulturforum, was rebuilt; by this Scharoun's designs concerning city redevelopment of the area could finally be recorded as complete.
On 20 May 2008 a fire broke out at the hall. One-quarter of the roof suffered considerable damage as firefighters cut openings to reach the flames beneath the roof. The hall interior sustained water damage but was otherwise "generally unharmed". Firefighters limited damage using foam. The cause of the fire was attributed to welding work, and no serious damage was caused either to the structure or interior of the building. Performances resumed, as scheduled, on 1 June 2008 with a concert by the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra.
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|Geographical coordinates||52.5100000, 13.3700000|
|Address||10785 Berlin, Herbert-von-Karajan-Straße 1|
|Construction dates||1960 - 1963|
|More information||official website|