Die Berliner Philharmonie


We are now presenting the exhibiton

“Die Berliner Philharmonie (Architect Hans Scharoun). Photographs by Lieselotte and Arnim Orgel-Köhne from 1963″


After nearly 14 years of planning and 3 years of construction, the Berliner Philharmonie in the Tiergarten was opened in October 1963 with a concert by the Berliner Philharmoniker directed by Herbert von Karajan.

At that time, the architect Hans Scharoun (1893-1972) was no stranger – before the Second Word War he had already built settlementes such as the Weißenhofsiedlung in Stuttgart or the Werkbundsiedlung in Breslau.

At the age of seventy, Scharoun succeeded one again in creating a masterpiece in which people, space and music interacted in a new way. The Berliner Philharmonie is still considered the culmination of the life’s work of the great architect.

The Berlin photographers Lieselotte and Arnim Orgel-Köhne approach the building from the outside – like the visitors -, inspect it as a complete work, get distracted by details such as the numerous, sometimes surprising projections, balconies and railings. They look at the building from different sides and distances and finally go into the various foyers, with their many staircases, pillars, parapets, corridors, which always offer different perspectives. They put special emphasis on the various colorful windows – on the images of this collection only in black and white – The highlight is the entrance into the “moving landscape of the hall” with its 2,200 seats. Scharoun called the terraces for the listeners “vineyards”, which hovered around the orchestral valley as if on mountain slopes and which offer each visitor “an almost intimate closeness to the orchestra”, but also the concentration on the music.


The photographers also show in their imges that after a short period of time since the opening, the public had already accepted the building as part of the city landscape and move naturally through this concert hall, which was so novel for the time. Until today, the Philharmonie is one of the most important concert halls in Berlin, together with the Konzerthaus am Gendarmenmarkt, and is also highly regarded internationally

The present compilation of photographs (partly mounted on both sides of simple DIN-A4 paper sheets, which was not uncommon at that time), was probably intended as a basis for reporting in architecture journals and for the book “Berlin Philharmonie”.

The curator of our exhibiton has preserved the original condition of the photographs and presents the one-sided pasted paper sheets under mat. Those who are provided with images on both sides were mounted between two transparent plexiglas panes and provided with a suspension. In addition we also present the book “Berlin Philharmonie, as seen by Liselotte u. Arnim Orgel-Köhne, considered by Ulrich Conrads”, Lettner-Verlag Berlin 1963, with original dust jacket. (Copy with the dedication of the publishing company worker (or publisher?) Alfred Hammer.