Berlin’s Philharmonic Hall (Berliner Philharmonie) is the bright yellow, tent-shaped building in the center of the city. It is famous for its modernist design, world-renowned acoustics, and accomplished orchestra—one of the best in the world. The main concert hall seats 2,440 people for orchestra shows; the chamber music hall seats 1,180.
After the previous building was destroyed in World War II, Hans Scharoun designed the new structure in the 1960s. The smaller chamber music hall was added in the 1980s. Despite the initial controversy around the modern design of the building, the Berlin Philharmonic Hall is now a model for concert halls around the world. You can learn more about this unique venue along with other interesting buildings in Berlin on architecture tours, which are generally private.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Philharmonic Hall is a must-visit for music and architecture lovers.
- Guided tours are offered at 1:30pm daily in German and English for a small fee.
- There are wheelchair-accessible entrances at the Potsdamer Platz, south, west, and east entrances.
- Limited disabled parking is available at the west side of the hall. Note that the underground parking does not have elevators.
- Disabled seating and limited equipment is available for wheelchair users and the hearing impaired.
How to Get There
The Philharmonic Hall is located in Berlin’s Kulturforum complex, adjacent to the Musical Instruments Museum (Musikinstrumenten-Museum). Take the underground U2 line or the S1, S2, or S25 overground line to Potsdamer Platz station. Alternatively, take city bus 200 to the Philharmonie stop, or the M48 or M85 to the Kulturforum stop.
When to Get There
The Berlin Philharmonic hosts free, 45-minute chamber music concerts every Tuesday at 1pm. These lunchtime performances, held in the building’s foyer and limited to 1,500 guests, feature top musicians who play in exchange for donations to the UNICEF Children’s Fund. Aside from these concerts, guided tours (1:30pm daily), and other events, the Philharmonie is closed to the public.
The Acoustics of the Philharmonie
Aside from the award-winning musical orchestra, the Philharmonie is renowned for its unrivaled acoustics. The music hall is designed using “vineyard seating,” where the audience sits in balcony terraces surrounding the central orchestral platform. This type of seating has inspired many other famous music halls including the Sydney Opera House and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.