Picture Gallery

Philharmonie Berlin

The history of the concert hall in pictures – our gallery shows the history of the Berlin Philharmonie from the planning stage to the present day. 

Archiv Berliner Philharmoniker

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The first Philharmonie, a former roller skating rink, was used by the Berliner Philharmoniker as a concert hall from 1888. In this image, made around 1940, Wilhelm Furtwängler is the conductor.

 

Landesarchiv Berlin / Horst Stegmann

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On 29 January 1944, the old Philharmonie was destroyed by bombs. The air raid lasted from midnight to 6 o’clock in the morning. 

 

Archiv Akademie der Künste Berlin

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In August 1956, architect Hans Scharoun won the “competition for the construction of a concert hall with adjoining rooms for the Berliner Philharmoniker”. Here you can see his original sketches for the design.

 

Archiv Akademie der Künste Berlin

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Like the design, the site of the new Philharmonie was also the subject of long discussions. This model shows the Philharmonie in its final location between Kemperplatz and Matthäikirchplatz.

 

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Using as large a model as possible (hence the scale of 1:9) the sound distribution in the hall was tested and the time taken for the sound was measured. (Photo: Archiv Akademie der Künste Berlin)

 

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Herbert von Karajan at the ground-breaking ceremony on 19 September 1960. (Photo: Archiv Berliner Philharmoniker)

 

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Topping out ceremony at the Philharmonie on 1 December 1961. Shortly before, in the August of the same year, the Berlin Wall was built a few hundred metres away. (Photo: Reinhard Friedrich)

 

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The main concert hall of the Philharmonie during construction. The placement of the podium in the middle of the seating was a breakthrough concept that has been adopted in many subsequent concert halls. (Photo: Archiv Berliner Philharmoniker)

 

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Herbert von Karajan and architect Hans Scharoun in the foyer of Philharmonie in 1963. To the right is the sculptor Bernhard Heiliger and his sculpture “Auftakt”. (Photo: Landesarchiv Berlin)

 

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The Philharmonie shortly after its completion, then still painted brown. The characteristic gold-anodized aluminium cladding was installed between 1978 and 1981. (Photo: Landesarchiv Berlin / Bernd Sass)

 

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Opening of the Philharmonie on 15 October 1963. Herbert von Karajan and the Berliner Philharmoniker perform Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. (Photo: Reinhard Friedrich)

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The guests of honour at the opening. Sitting in the front row (left to right): Margit Scharoun, Hans Scharoun, Rut Brandt, governing mayor of Berlin, Willy Brandt, and Intendant Wolfgang Stresemann. (Photo: Archiv Akademie der Künste Berlin)

 

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The Philharmonie in 1964. Due to its peripheral location near the Berlin Wall, the concert hall stands alone in an almost undeveloped environment. (Photo: Reinhard Friedrich)

 

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By 1997, the situation has changed radically. The former death strip has been built over with Potsdamer Platz and Leipziger Platz, the Philharmonie – and with it, the Chamber Music Hall which opened in 1987 – now stands in the new centre of Berlin. (Photo: Reinhard Friedrich)

 

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A photograph from 2003, taken from the foyer of the Philharmonie. The window mosaic by Alexander Camaro consist of glass blocks, none of which are quite alike. (Photo: Archiv Berliner Philharmoniker)

 

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Shocking moment on 20 May 2008: Fire breaks out during repair work on the roof of the Philharmonie. The fire department quickly bring it under control. (Photo: Helge Grünewald)

 

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The Berlin Philharmonie in 2013: still a visionary piece of architecture and a hallmark of the classical music world. (Photo: Sebastian Hänel)