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Elbe Philharmonic Hall

The complex interconnections of the interior structure of this idiosyncratic construction represented a special challenge for the pipeline installation. (Photo: Herzog & de Meuron / bloomimages)

Viega piping systems overcome challenges of a once-in-a-lifetime building

From a distance, it looks like a huge, futuristic high-tech ship with glass sails. The architectural masterpiece known as the Elbphilharmonie – the Elbe Philharmonic Hall – is now ‘moored’ on the western bank of the historic warehouse quarter of Hamburg, Germany. The ‘hull’ is a foursquare old warehouse, and above it towers what seems like a cloud of ‘sail’. The concert hall built under the aegis of general contractor HOCHTIEF is already something of a cult object, both in the construction industry and amongst art connoisseurs.

Supplying different usage areas according to demand

In addition to the main concert hall, this extraordinary once-in-a-century building includes two smaller halls, a hotel with around 250 beds and 45 residential units, not to mention the restaurant areas and plaza that is open to the public. “In order to supply these different usage areas with drinking water and heating according to the individual requirements, we installed considerably more than 10 kilometres of Viega’s Profipress copper piping system with up to 108 mm diameter,” explains Jens-Peter Rücker, Managing Director of the responsible HVAC and plumbing company A.C. Vorwald & Sohn (Hamburg). In addition to this, there was the installation of the desalination and water softening plant for the cooling circuit of the water chillers. For this, Jens-Peter Rücker uses the Sanpress Inox stainless steel system.

The architecture as a challenge for the pipeline installation

The Elbe Philharmonic Hall’s complex architecture naturally brought equally complex pipe laying tasks with it. Thousands of moulded parts of all shapes and sizes were required. According to Jens-Peter Rücker, quality, reliability and ease of use together formed an excellent argument in favour of Profipress and Sanpress Inox: “These days, press technology is state of the art. Even large-dimension connections can be made quickly. But with the Elbe Philharmonic Hall's pipe network, the leak tightness of the press connections was especially important,” as the trained gas and water installation master craftsman emphasises.

The point is that the different geodetic heights of the pipe sections meant that the central leakage test had to take account of differing test pressures for practically every connector. However, thanks to the Viega connectors’ SC-Contur feature that ensures forced leakage in the unpressed state, each and every inadvertently unpressed connection throughout the entire pressure range of a leakage test can be identified immediately. “This safety feature is certainly not provided as a matter of course with other connectors,” points out Jens-Peter Rücker.



  1. Elbe Philharmonic Hall © Thies Rätzke
  2. Interior structure © Herzog & de Meuron / bloomimages
  3. Chicago Symphony Orchestra / Riccardo Muti © Todd Rosenberg Photography
Object Elbe Philharmonic Hall
Location Hamburg, Germany
Year 2016
Object Type New building
Size 125000 m2
Area of use Public buildings
Architect Herzog & de Meuron, Basel, Switzerland
Planning Hochtief AG, Essen, Germany
Installation A.C. Vorwald & Sohn GmbH, Hamburg, Germany (among others)