Modeling to Problem Solve

“The story of the Elbphilharmonie provides, as an example, an insight into the extremes that mark the reality of planning and building today.” -dezeen magazine

Design firm Herzog  & de Meuron are in the process, after many years and dollars past the original goal, of completing the Elbphilharmonic in Hamburg.  The firm presented suspended models of the proposed interior spaces of the site at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale. They also papered the walls with uncensored newspaper articles about the projects progress or lack thereof.

herzog models



Construction came to a stop (November 2011) when the client, designers and contractors were no longer on the same page.

“The large-scale construction site increasingly mutated into a battlefield involving the three main players: the client (the City of Hamburg, and its representative ReGe), the general contractor, and the architect/general planner.”-dezeen

This exhibit highlights the struggles that can be a reality in the world of built work. For designer operating in a market driven world the site is a ‘common ground for diverging interests’.

The firm decided to build these models and present them at the Biennale in an attempt to give viewers concrete examples of what they expect to be a built reality soon. The models are made of wood and stacked foam. They are displayed at such a height that viewers are encouraged to lean in and ‘be in the space’.

model 3



model 4



There are also some larger site models that the firm has produced

herzog model 2

source: herzog & de meuron – hamburg elbphilharmonie – hamburg, germany – 2009


For a nominal fee tours of the construction site can be scheduled.

model 5

Building Under Construction…


 Video of construction site:

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