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The long-delayed Elbphilharmonie Hamburg is finally complete – a feat announced in giant illuminated letters on its side.

Designed by Herzog & de Meuron, the complex – which comprises three world-class concert halls as well as apartments, a hotel and restaurants – is capped by a crown-like glass structure made from individual glazed panels that can be lit up independently.

‘Fertig’ (German for ‘completed’) was lit across the side of the building, which sits on the city’s harbour front, signalling the end of its 10-year-long construction.

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Herzog & de Meuron incorporated an existing 1960s warehouse into the Elbphilharmonie’s design, using the vast red brick volume as a plinth for their wavy glass addition which soars to a height of 110m.

The project has been dogged by long-delays and spiralling expense: originally estimated at €77 million, it’s now thought to have cost more than 10 times as much.

Courtesy of Herzog & de Meuron
Courtesy of Herzog & de Meuron

Now the keys have been handed over to the City of Hamburg, Elbphilharmonie is gearing up for launch. Management company HamburgMusik takes over the running of the complex this week, including its 4,000 sq m plaza (which sits 30 m above ground overlooking the city) as well as restaurants, a hotel, restaurants bars and cafes.

The first performance at the Elbphilharmonie concert hall is scheduled for January 2017.

Read next: 11 culture hubs opening this autumn

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