Harpa tops FORM’s list, which includes five buildings. Further down the list, you find Holmenkollen Ski Jump by JDS Architects and 8-tallet by BIG. As the background to the selection of Harpa as Building of the Year, the magazine writes: ”Whether the new Harpa Concert Hall is a symbol of a new, reborn Iceland or of the same old island that suffered from financial hubris is a hot topic now. The fact that charter trips featuring Harpa as the main attraction are already being sold in Sweden might point to the fact that the optimists drew the longest straw.”
The concert hall has received great recognition in Danish and international architecture and art journals. In the Danish architecture magazine, Arkitektur DK 5 11, Harpa is acknowledged for its unique facade and orientation towards the city. Editor, Martin Keiding, calls Harpa “a community center” and elaborates: ”This is a decisive and important touch in terms of bringing the city and the harbor together.”
In a review in the Danish newspaper, Politiken, the architectural editor, Karsten R. S. Ifversen, wrote: “A spectacular foyer rises behind the glass facade, stretching all the way up through the 43 m tall building. The long, wide stairs and displaced floors create an overwhelming, adventurous space with surprisingly good acoustics and a beautiful view of Reykjavik City. In daytime, people meet in the foyer to have a cup of coffee and relax.”
The south facade of Harpa is inspired by the geological basalt stone formations along the Icelandic coast. The remaining two-dimensional facades and roof build on the geometry of the south facade. The glass captures the light of the sun and colours of the sky and appears as a giant, illuminating sculpture, reflecting the sky and harbour. The building changes colours depending on the weather and time of day and year.
Art and architecture are beautifully united in the 29,000 m2 concert hall comprising four music and conference halls. Harpa forms part of an extensive development plan for the east harbour in Reykjavik – with the objective of bringing the city and harbour closer together. Henning Larsen won the assignment in an international competition in 2005.