As an architect, visiting a city like Hamburg, Germany requires very little pre-planning. Simply walking the streets is a feast for me. I knew I wanted to see the Elbphilharmonie, (the new Hamburg Philharmonic Hall), but I enjoyed the plaza underneath it more, and viewing its form from various perspectives (canals, bridges, streets) was fascinating! You are never far from water in Hamburg and the roof line of the “Elphie”, as it is affectionately called by locals, resembles the water itself – sparkling, cresting waves! Riding up through the base of the building (a preserved brick warehouse) on the longest escalator in the world to a not-so-special lobby was fun but uninspiring. The views however were worth the trip. If you want a tour of the symphony hall itself, then planning ahead is a must, as tickets are sold out months in advance.