harpa concert hall, reykjavik (2011)

The Harpa Concert Hall, located in the harbour area of Reykjavik, was designed by Henning Larsen Architects and Batteriid Architects. The Danish-Icelandic artist, Olafur Eliasson, collaborated on the design of the facades taking inspiration from the Icelandic landscape and the crystalline structure of basalt columns, which give a strong sense of identity and place to the building. It is a kind of people’s palace for the Icelandic capital – a cultural centre but also a public space and place to meet, protected from the elements. The building contains concert and performance spaces, and international standard conference facilities – Reykjavik is ideally located between Europe and the US. HarpaPlan

the main atrium facing the Nordurljos and Eldborg concert halls
looking through the crystalline facade at sunset

The Icelandic landscape: inspiration for the building design from ice, snow, rock and water, from the colours and the effects of natural light.

Interesting features of the acoustic design of the concert hall interiors include the perimeter screens of twisted timber slats, and adjustable felt blinds behind, creating the tools for varying the acoustic to suit different types of musical and speech-based performance.

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The Nordurljos concert hall
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Detail of the twisted timber slatted acoustic screen

water images from the hebrides

I am interested in the visual and acoustic qualities of water in the wild, and how these might inform the treatment of water in an urban public space.  These photographs from a trip to the Hebrides in August show the ocean in various states of animation, transparency and colour. Different states invoke different emotional responses. The water in motion makes its own sound, and the surface properties of the water affect the acoustic reflections of ambient sounds.


From the CalMac Ferry between Mull and Tiree
Shallow water over sand on a Tiree beach
Water like cast glass on the Isle Of Seil
From the CalMac Ferry between Mull and Tiree