Demolition work began recently after holding group Portus won the construction contract. The building will be completed in fall 2009.
The exterior of the building, designed by artist ê_lafur El‹asson, will have a crystalline form reflecting the changing colors of the surrounding landscape. "The sun will accentuate the details in light and shadow, and the building will refer to the glowing lava when exploding in warm golden colors or to the glaciers when turning ice blue," according to Portus's web site.
The Danish architecture firm Henning Larsen Tegnestue, which built Copenhagen's new opera house, is responsible for the rest of the structure.
The building will contain an 1,800-seat auditorium, a 750-seat conference hall, a 450-seat chamber hall, and a 180-seat space for music and conferences. Pianist and conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy, who spends part of each year in Iceland and is conductor laureate of the Iceland Symphony, has agreed to serve as artistic advisor.