The Philharmonie was the first of a series
of buildings which would create a kulturforum (later to include the Kammermusiksaal, Staatsbibliothek, and Neue Nationalgalerie) in an area
of Berlin leveled during World War II. The site of the Kulturforum was near the former
center of Berlin and was adjacent the the Berlin Wall. As such, it represented the power
and (cultural and economic) wealth of the west, but simultaneously was intended by
Scharoun to be the seed of a cultural center for a reunited Berlin.
The Philharmonie itself is considered a
masterpiece of sculptural, expressionistic modernism. Its form derives from the unusual
and acclaimed configuration of the concert hall, in which the stage is surrounded on all
sides by the audience. The rows of seats are further broken up into tiered blocks,
creating a condition in which the concert-goer is made to acknowledge both performance and
audience in new ways. As the audience is made acutely aware of its physical location
during a performance, changes in level generated by the theater configuration are
played-out sculpturally and spatially in the public areas outside the theater itself. The
exterior is designed not as a facade in the classical sense, but portrays a building
designed from the inside-out.
Jay Berman 1999
How to visit
The Philharmonie is south of the Tiergarten and
west of Potsdamer Platz. It is next door to the Kammermusiksaal.
Ubahn/Sbahn: S1, S2, U2
Station: Potsdamer Platz
Books and other web
Click the book title to view and to order direct
Stereo (3-D) photography of the Philharmonie and Staatsbibliothek, onthree View-Master reels
(requires View-Master stereo viewer), bringing the buildings to life like no
conventional photography can
The Philharmonie is the home of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. For details of their
own and other performances in the Philharmonie, visit their English-language web site at
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