Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre

Austurbakki 2, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

Opened in 2011, Reykjavík’s Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre is not only the most significant classical music venue in Iceland (home to the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Icelandic Opera), but also one of the country’s most striking examples of modern architecture. Located close to the old harbor, the building was part of a larger development meant to breathe life into the downtown district (the plan was abandoned due to the subsequent economic crash, but funds to complete Harpa were found). The coruscating, eye-catching facade was designed by Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson, and the spacious interior has four handsome halls, the largest of which can accommodate up to 1,800 seated guests. There are also smaller conference rooms dotted throughout the building, and the ground floor hosts a record shop, café and restaurant, and other public areas. In addition to classical concerts, the venue holds music festivals, pop shows, art exhibitions, and more.

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Reykjavik’s Harpa Concert Hall, With Help From Olafur Eliasson

When we talked to artist Olafur Eliasson in the March/April 2011 issue of AFAR, he mentioned some work he was doing in Iceland. And on August 20 of last year, that work was inaugurated: The Harpa-Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre officially opened with the lighting of Eliasson’s amazing facade. Go for the facade, but stay for the events: the Iceland Airwaves festival starts October 31; last year’s lineup featured Bjork and Yoko Ono, among others. And the concert hall will be home to the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Icelandic Opera.

Afternoon at Harpa

Reykjavík’s sparkling crown jewel, the Harpa conference and event center was officially opened in 2011. Designed in cooperation with famous Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, the building’s façade is made of geometric glass forms that gleam and change colors with the changing light and was inspired by the basalt rocks that dominate Iceland’s landscape. But the building is just as wonderful and awe-inspiring to stroll through as it is to look at. Be sure to ascend to each floor to see the different views through the glass cubes of the city skyline and the rugged mountains just outside the city. There is seating on each floor if you want to sit and contemplate for a while, and there is also a café, if you’re looking for an excuse to exist there for a little longer (which you probably should).


Harpa is the new concert hall recently completed. The structure consists of a steel framework clad with irregular-shaped glass panels of different colors. It is located near the Old Harbor of Reykjavik.

Harpa concert Hall

Concert hall - extremely modern and sleek design; love the internal concrete material and colored window panels. Beautiful building.

Amazing architecture on the waterfront

we didn’t see any performances at HARPA (although we were strongly considering going to a concert where Icelandic rock stars covered Led Zeppelin songs) but it didn’t matter. the jutting differnt colored glass shapes were so pretty and strange- from inside and out. we walked along the length of it and then wandered a bit inside (partially to get out of the winter rain). it’s really beautiful to watch the water through the honeycomb glass !

Harmonic Harpa

Reykiavik, ICELAND -- While visiting Iceland, I discovered a few fun facts: They don’t have an army. I can barely pronounce any of the names of the cities, towns or volcanoes, but I love the food. The police around here are widely known to drive folks home if they get too drunk rather than jail them. Really. But the talk of the town: Harpa, a world-class facility that is beautiful inside and out. Costing roughly £150 million, Harpa was designed by the award-winning architectural team Henning Larsen Architects in collaboration with renowned artist Ólafur Eliasson. The structure is the new home to the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Icelandic Opera (previously resigned to playing in various movie theaters, but now comfortably ensconced in the new facility) -- and the venue is already esteemed in elite circles. The facade -- a dazzling display of multi-angled quasi-bricks with colored LED strips that can be easily brightened and dimmed, and will glow at night -- is stunning just like the interiors. I’m attracted to the energy and the beauty this place has to offer visitors. And I can’t wait for my next visit back to Harpa because the concert I wanted to attend was sold out so I took this picture ( see above) instead. And here is another fun fact about Iceland: Be sure to purchase your Harpa concert tickets asap.

Information on this page, including website, location, and opening hours, is subject to have changed since this page was last published. If you would like to report anything that’s inaccurate, let us know at notification@afar.com.

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