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Harpa Wins Prestigious American Award

An Unbeatable Choice

‘An unbeatable choice’ the jury for the USITT Architecture Award 2018 called Harpa Concert Hall & Conference Centre.

Harpa has won the United States Institute of Theatre Technology’s 2018 Merit Award. USITT was founded in 1960 to promote dialogue, research, and learning among practitioners of theatre design and technology.

The jury substantiated their choice of Harpa Concert Hall & Conference Centre:

“The main hall Eldborg lives up to its role as a world-class concert hall, with state-of-the-art acoustic technology and a unique setting, providing the audience with an unforgettable experience on numerous levels.

The Smaller halls such as Norðurljós provide the perfect surrounding for chamber music and stand-up, while Silfurberg is ideal for all kinds of electric concerts. The selection of different spaces, the quantity of quality in-house gear and all the excellent staff of Harpa make Harpa an unbeatable choice. Harpa is an adaptable modern venue where all musical genres can find its place.”

Community Contribution and New Technologies

Harpa Concert Hall & Conference Centre in Reykjavik, Iceland was completed in 2011. The concert hall constitutes a striking addition to Iceland’s cultural scene and has become a landmark in the redevelopment of Reykjavik’s historic harbor and waterfront area—as well as a symbol of the country’s renewed dynamics after the financial crises. The 28,000 m2 building comprises both concert and conference facilities for the local community, including four main halls, exhibition spaces, and several meeting rooms. The halls all have independent identities based on local community themes, while at the same time forming part of the overall perception of the building.

Glowing Center of Force

Harpa offers a varied music program appealing to all music tastes. This makes great demands on the acoustics and flexibility of the four auditoriums. The largest auditorium, Eldborg, is named after a famous volcanic crater in Iceland.

Eldborg means “Fire Mountain”. This auditorium, which seats up to 1,800 guests, forms the red-hot powerhouse of Harpa’s inner core. The auditorium is built in concrete and surfaced with red-varnished birch veneer. Adjustable sound chambers around the auditorium add up to 30 percent more volume and make it possible to regulate the reverberation time. With its characteristic shoebox shape, Eldborg’s intense expression is a striking contrast to the light atmosphere in the foyer.

“To me, Harpa has proved its worth as something larger than a concert hall. It has become a cultural destination. That being said, it obviously should serve as an excellent concert venue as well. The recognition from the USITT tells me, that Harpa offers outstanding conditions for all musical genres. On behalf of music lovers around the world, I am grateful that we as a team – from acousticians to architects – was able to shape such flexibility and diversity.” – Louis Becker, Partner and Design Principal at Henning Larsen.

In 2013 Harpa Concert Hall & Conference Center was also rewarded The European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award.