The Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, by Henning Larsen Architects, has been chosen as the winner in the latest edition of the Mies van der Rohe Award (European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture). The building is configured as two large faceted volumes whose silhouette retraces the traditional waterfront of the city. Used mainly for concerts and large congresses, the volume contains three large halls concealed behind a glazed backdrop nuanced by a subtle and variable chromatism that reflects the natural landscape of clouds and mountains, bathed in northern light.
Designed in collaboration with Olafur Eliasson (see Arquitectura Viva 141), the versatile Danish artist of Icelandic origin, the facade takes inspiration from the crystalline geometry of basalt stones that are so representative of Iceland, and which are designed here with the intention to produce spectacular light effects inside the building. It consists of one thousand prefabricated steel modules, dyed in different colors, whose strict geometry of Pythagoric references – inspired in the patterns of quasicrystals and also in the three-dimensional tapestries conceived by the engineer and mathematician Einar Thorsteinn – allows densifying the volume of the enclosure, attracting light and transforming it into a suggestive interplay of kaleidoscopic reflections.