The centrepiece of the massive Austurhöfn redevelopment around the harbour, the impressive Harpa concert hall is the home of the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra and the Icelandic Opera, and winner of the European Union’s Mies van der Rohe Award for contemporary architecture in 2013 (despite not being in the European Union).
The structure consists of a steel framework clad with geometric shaped glass panels of different colours, which are illuminated at night. Begun in 2007, the building was the first completed part of the Austurhöfn redevelopment. Dubbed World Trade Center Reykjavík, this project was to include a 400-room hotel, luxury apartments, retail units, restaurants, a car park and the new headquarters of Icelandic bank Landsbanki. However, in 2008 the Icelandic economy collapsed and all the Icelandic banks were declared bankrupt. The redevelopment was postponed indefinitely, with only Harpa being completed (in 2011). It took many years for construction to begin again, but it is now finally nearing completion. Inside, Harpa is a remarkable building, with attractive viewpoints on every side and handsome cafés and shops within.
Continue along the bayfront beyond Harpa.