It’s not uncommon for massive building projects to run over budget and exceed their timeline, but Hamburg’s recently completed Elbe Concert Hall is a bit of an extreme case. Slated for completion in 2010, the Herzog & de Meuron-designed building took an additional six years and more than $600 million above its budget to build.
The project kicked off more than a decade ago. The idea was to build a world-class concert hall with a 2,150-seat auditorium above an existing 1960s brick structure. Hamburg’s former mayor, Ole von Beust, has been given much of the blame for the botched timeline and cost overrun. The building’s costs ballooned from $200 million to an estimated $870 million—with German taxpayers paying the difference.
Hamburg’s city council undertook a two-year investigation of the concert hall’s spending and delays, uncovering a cascade of coordination blunders, an unrealistically low bid from the contractor, and scheduling breakdowns. Extravagant spending included more than $1,000 per paper towel dispenser and $300 for a single toilet brush.
With the wave-like building now completed, its lengthy construction saga is finally over. The hall hosted its first visitors last week and its grand opening is slated for January 11. Below, check out some fab snapshots of the place already on Instagram.