Great theater in Pilsen. © HOCHTIEF CZ

Buildings becoming art

Museums, theaters, opera houses, and philharmonic halls make cities unforgettable. HOCHTIEF—where buildings become art.

New York. Broad window facades and terraces offer magnificent views of the Hudson River in Manhattan. The Whitney Museum of American Art is considered one of the top art museums in New York, along with the Guggenheim, MoMA, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ever since its opening in 2015, the building, which was erected under the management of HOCHTIEF's subsidiary Turner Construction Company, has been considered as a gift for art lovers. "New York has never before had such a visitor-friendly museum," lauded "Art" magazine.

When an institution wishes to attract famous artists for an exhibition or a guest performance, packaging plays a major role. Only the best is good enough. And the need for perfection becomes a challenge for the architects who create these buildings.

Hamburg. Construction of the Elbe Philharmonic Hall is a prime example of perfectionism. In particular, the great concert hall is an artwork in itself, and it poses supreme challenges to everyone. The start acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota has designed the space in such a way that every row of the hall provides the optimal listening experience. The unique sound is ensured by 10,000 individual sound-reflecting panels on the walls and on the ceiling—each one individually milled.

The Elbe Philharmonic Hall is the queen of Hamburg's new cultural sites. But the queen's subjects also provide a forum for music, dance and a lot more: In 2013, HOCHTIEF finished building not one, but two musical theaters in Hamburg. These were the first privately financed new theaters to be built in Germany since 1999 and made the city the world's third-largest venue for musicals. The most recently built major theater in Hamburg is the Mehr!-Theater, which is also located within sight of the Elbe Philharmonic Hall and was also restructured by HOCHTIEF. The hall is part of the city's Central Market, and the striking ogee roof is a listed historical monument.

To create outstanding cultural sites, perfectionism and sensitivity are a must. And even more important: a willingness to extend the limits of feasibility.

Pilsen. A huge concrete surface that looks like a stage curtain. Weighing tons while looking like a lightweight, and with no joints or seams. The facade of the theater in the Czech city had to be produced in a continuous pour. And became a work of art itself.

Prague. There are many opera houses and theaters in Prague, but the State Opera is the Number One. The building, which was inaugurated in 1888, is being completely renovated by a group of companies including HOCHTIEF CZ. The technology, pipes, electrical and heating systems, and interior furnishings are being completely overhauled. The rehearsal rooms for the ballet, orchestra, and choir are being updated and new offices are being constructed.

Düsseldorf. It's a challenge to fulfill the wishes of the architect, and it's also necessary to address the special needs of the users. As, for example, in the case of the rehearsal building of the Ballett of the Deutsche Oper in Düsseldorf on the Rhine River. What requirements did the ballet company have regarding its rehearsal operations? What is the dancers' daily work like? The result of long preliminary talks are a 3,000-square-meter floor area, five ballet studios, and a ballet school. "We sometimes rehearse for up to ten ballets at the same time. The new building will enable us to work at an even higher level of quality," says the head of the company, Martin Schläpfer.

Gdansk. "To this very day, in all Polish families the memory has been present of those who paid the highest price—their life—in World War II. That's why it is so important for us to make the Polish tale, the Polish voice on this war, heard. The Polish voice shall be brought to the world's attention."  These are words from the speech Poland's then Prime Minister Donald Tusk made at the foundation stone ceremony for the Museum of World War II. The ceremony took place on September 1, 2012. Germany and Poland have a special historic relationship. September 1 marks the anniversary of the German army's invasion of Poland in 1939. The fact that of all contractors, HOCHTIEF Polska, the subsidiary of a German company, was entrusted with this construction project fulfills HOCHTIEF with pride and deep humbleness.

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