Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre

View of Harpa Concert Hall from outside against a grey sky

No trip to Reykjavík would be complete without a visit to the stunning Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre. Whether you’re keen to catch an unforgettable performance or simply want to appreciate the architecture of the building, make sure you pay a visit to Reykjavík’s cultural landmark on your next Icelandic trip.

The History of Harpa Concert Hall 

Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre is a fairly new building. The concert hall officially opened its doors in May 2011 after construction began in 2007. This stunning building was the result of collaboration between two architectural firms - the Icelandic firm, Batteríið Architects, and a Danish one called Henning Larsen Architects. The firms worked together with a famous Danish-Icelandic artist named Olafur Eliasson. 

As an artist, Olafur Eliasson is known for marrying glass, light, and water in his work, which was ideal for the modern waterside building that would become Harpa Concert Hall. The end result was a striking building that indeed does reflect light and water in a point of visual centrality along Reykjavík’s seafront. 

Even though Harpa Concert Hall is a fairly young building, it has already gained quite a reputation through excellence and awards. Among its many accolades, Harpa was named the best concert house of the new millennium by Gramophone Magazine. It has also won several awards for business and conference centres, and not exclusively for its concert background. 

In addition to the many awards and instances of recognition gained over the years, the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre is now the official home of the Icelandic Opera, and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, as well as a number of ongoing festivals. 

Interior shot of Harpa Concert Hall

Harpa Concert Hall Architecture

Of all the spectacular buildings that inhabit Reykjavík, the Harpa Concert Hall is a classic example of contemporary architecture. Cool materials such as glass and steel were used to construct the building, although the building is anything but cold. The appearance was actually inspired by basalt crystals, which can be found aplenty in Iceland thanks to the island’s volcanic activity. 

Geometry is another key element in the styling of Reykjavík’s Harpa Opera House. The sides and the glass panels are in varied shapes and angles so that the building looks completely different based on what angle you’re viewing it from. Visitors across the world are fascinated with this feature of Harpa Concert Hall. 

Close up of the geometric windows at Harpa Concert Hall

Events at Harpa Concert Hall

Harpa Concert Hall is known for running a catalogue of exciting events all throughout the year. In addition to ongoing Opera and Symphony performances, there are also one-off performances that visitors can enjoy should they so choose. Harpa is truly an exciting conference centre that also hosts dance performances, stand-up comedy, theatre, and more. Check out the upcoming performances at Harpa here

If you’re hoping to enjoy a performance or two at Harpa Concert Hall on your visit to Reykjavík, book a room at the nearby Hotel Reykjavík Centrum