A metropolitan business and residential neighborhood with a view

Spectacular high-rises and first-class connections for new worlds of work with high innovative strength

Elbbrücken neighborhood will be HafenCity’s second urban center after Überseequartier. Spectacular high-rises, water surfaces on three sides and a large central plaza will characterize this very densely built business location close to the city center – an address for major corporations and smaller, growing companies alike. With its proximity to the Elbe embankment, to Baakenhafen and to Billhafen, as well as to verdant Entenwerder island, Elbbrücken neighborhood also has great potential as a residential area. Around 50 percent of built space is planned for office use and some 10 percent for restaurants, bars, small-scale retail and special uses – with potential for 11,000 jobs. Thus 40 percent of the designated space still remains for residential – depending on size, there will be around 1,400 apartments.

The urban planning for Elbbrücken quarter comes from Hosoya Schaefer Architects of Zurich whose design gives the eastern entry to HafenCity clear definition and provides a robust foundation for its onward development. Open spaces will be designed by Atelier Loidl (Berlin). The design visibly references Baakenhafen’s red-brick esthetic, upgrading Amerigo Vespucci square, covering at least 10,000 m², to be the quarter’s centerpiece. The design also makes the square a flexible meeting place also suitable for events – and the largest square in HafenCity.

Sustainable mobility 

In addition to the excellent public transport connections, the neighborhood will have a station-based cross-district car sharing system based in the underground parking garages and with a high percentage of e-vehicles.  Combined with e-bikes and conventional cycle use, this will not only markedly reduce the costs of households’ individual vehicle-based mobility but also considerably upgrade the quality of the public areas by shifting all of the necessary parking provision into the underground garages and reduce CO2 emissions.

The subway station at Elbbrücken went into service in December 2018. the station opens up the whole of eastern HafenCity and the planned Elbtower as well as parts of Rothenburgsort suburb to the northwest, Billebogen and Grasbrook. Since 2019 it has provided a further connection to the HVV public transport network via the new rapid transit station, which is linked to the subway station. A really spectacular feature is the so-called “Skywalk”, a glazed pedestrian bridge connecting the two stations.  

Living and working by the water 

In order to position residential buildings with an acceptable level of noise, the eastern end of Baakenhafen was partially filled in. This means that new buildings can now be built in a double row, with higher buildings to the outside protecting inner residential buildings on the water side. A densely built residential quarter will therefore be built around the head of Baakenhafen, centered on Amerigo Vespucci square, featuring a variety of upmarket public amenities such as bars, eateries and retailing on ground floors along the promenade and on the square.

On Versmannstrasse most of the buildings will be six or seven-story block structures for offices plus some singular high points. The architectural framework fronting the easterly Freihafen-Elbe bridge and the rail tracks, on the other hand, will be even taller buildings with high points and a 110–115 m tower. The wide choice of available offers and excellent accessibility create ideal conditions for dynamic growth of businesses and the city. Moving east in the neighborhood, office and hotel uses dominate. Despite the traffic crossing the rail bridge and using Versmannstrasse, this intelligent structuring will ensure that there are zones shielded from noise, making for very good residential conditions.

Construction projects

Numerous projects are already either under construction of have had exclusive options granted. They already indicate the location’s urban dynamism in that they provide places for progressive new worlds of work and a high degree of innovation. The employers’ liability associations BGW and VBG are jointly building a prevention center to accommodate 30,000 to 35,000 seminar participants and event visitors per year. Next door, the photovoltaic enterprise Enerparc is building its corporate headquarters, also providing spaces for employee start-ups, related external service providers and temporary development staff.

The EDGE HafenCity high-tech smart building will also offer flexible leasing options, both in terms of space and of lease length, catering for long-term large-scale users and temporary co-workers. In the immediate vicinity the 1,200 staff of Vattenfall will turn their attention to the energy issues of the future from 2023 – the company is building its new headquarters for northern Germany and also basing some of its international activities here.

From Roots to Moringa

The Roots project here will also be North Germany’s tallest wooden building, a combination of apartments, offices for a non-profit foundation, and a large public exhibition on nature and species conservation. Concrete will be used only for the base and the central staircase. The façade, ceilings and room walls will be made of different types of wood. The 5,500 cubic meters installed would grow back in Germany’s forests within 23 minutes.

The “Moringa” project also addresses ecological responsibility. According to its developer, it will be “Hamburg’s healthiest house” and also the first residential tower in Germany to be built entirely according to the cradle-to-cradle principle. This means that the majority of all the construction materials used in the building, with its 210 rental apartments, can be deconstructed and reused. In addition, substances that are hazardous to health will be consistently excluded. In addition, there will be a cooling and air-cleaning green facade, a green courtyard and a green roof. With a co-living concept and communal spaces, the project is also dedicated to neighborhood cohesion.

High up between the Elbe bridges

At about 245 m, the Elbtower will be the eastern culmination of HafenCity, visible from afar. The spectacular tower is due to be completed by the year 2026. The mixed-use tower, which is to create space for at least 3,000 jobs, is sited on an almost triangular plot amid rail tracks and roads and directly adjacent to the Elbe bridges. As a powerful culmination to the whole of HafenCity the Elbtower will also be a curtain-raiser for the entrée to inner-city Hamburg and the adjacent new urban development zones. Together with the new Elbbrücken subway and rapid transit station it will become a central urban hub with an influence reaching into the urban development areas of Billebogen and Grasbrook.

The base of the tower, with a gross floor area of just under 120,000 m², will offer entertainment areas, retailing and catering, as well as semi-public uses such as hotel, boarding house, fitness and wellness areas, and a “Kinderland”, while there will be a viewing platform about 220 m above the ground. The tower stories are designed to house co-working spaces and flexibly adaptable offices. The building’s social and communication meeting point is its naturally lit roofed-in atrium.

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