The Hamburg Concert Hall, which wrapped up construction in November and will open next month, is everything that is wrong with architecture: It was 700 million euros (about $730 million) over budget and seven years behind schedule. Germany’s parliament investigated where the money went–tax dollars financed the project–and discovered $300 toilet-bowl brushes and $1,000 paper towel dispensers on the bill.
But, damn, the Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron‘s glassy iceberg floating atop an old brick warehouse does look mighty striking.
“There were moments when we thought this building would destroy our whole career,” architect Jacques Herzog told the Guardian. “Somehow we were responsible for this total disaster, because we had seduced the people with our design.” The building is bursting with architectural ambition, from the Saarinen-esque spiral staircases (Saarinen’s 1960s TWA terminal was an inspiration) to the sinuous glass facades and 2,100-person auditorium capped by a carved plaster ceiling with a reptilian motif.
Before the concert hall hosts its first performance in January, you can tour the monumental mega-project by drone, courtesy of an interactive video that lets you choose how fast you want to fly through the space, created by Jung von Matt and Gestalt Communications. From aerial shots of the performance space to close-ups of the facade, the drone’s-eye view goes where humans can’t, offering a way to appreciate the design most IRL visitors won’t get.