The City of Plazas, Parks and Promenades
The new neighborhood enriches Hamburg with exciting, new urban spaces on the water and beside it. Squares, promenades and parks are no mere urban development tools but independent distinctive elements in the cityscape
Magellan Terraces in summer (© ELBE&FLUT) Start slideshow
The significance of urban open space for HafenCity is clear from just a few key figures: 24 percent of its land area – 26 hectares – will be open space. All open spaces, whether parks or promenades, are on the waterside; the shoreline extends 10.5km. Water surfaces in harbor basins and the River Elbe are all “islands of fresh air”, opening up views. In addition to the public open spaces, which are closely interlocked and well connected to one another, publicly accessible private open spaces account for a further 13 percent.
MEDITERRANEAN AIRINESS WITH AUSTERE PORT INFLUENCES
Architectural firm EMBT Arquitectes Associates designed most of the largely completed urban spaces in the western section of HafenCity, an elaborate and esthetic interplay between water and land; severe forms typical of a port contrast with airy Mediterranean influences. Two large terraced squares were created at the heads of the Sandtorhafen and Grasbrookhafen harbor basins. The Magellan Terraces (5,600 sqm), completed in 2005, cascade down to the water on several levels. With its rather hard surfaces, this amphitheater-like plaza with its urban character is multi-functional.
From here the gaze sweeps across to the Traditional Ship Harbor in Sandtorhafen, opened in 2008; 5,800 sqm of floating pontoons rises and falls with the tide, providing permanent moorings for up to 30 historic watercraft. With the opening of HafenCity’s first verdant park in 2010, the 6,000 sqm Sandtorpark in the next-door quarter, this open space ensemble is now complete. The Marco Polo Terraces (7,800 sqm) opened in 2007. Grass islands, wooden decks and trees break them down into smaller sections, so that they appear more sheltered, green and soft. In Grasbrookhafen harbor, a privately operated pleasure-craft marina is planned medium term. Promenades along the quays link these varied urban spaces.
Vasco da Gama Plaza, also alongside the promenade, is a popular meeting place with outside eating areas and space for basketball. South of the Marco Polo Terraces strollers reach the new Elbterrassen steps, after passing through Grosser Grasbrook and the publicly accessible mall in Unilever House.
ON FOOT FROM THE INNER ALSTER TO MAGDEBURGER HAFEN
Architect Beth Galí and her firm BB + GG arquitectes (Barcelona) won the competition for landscaping central HafenCity – in other words Überseequartier and Magdeburger Hafen harbor. The firm chose natural granite slabs intersected by paving stones recycled from old quays for the promenade on Osakaallee, the new Dar es Salaam square and the forecourt of the International Maritime Museum. With the advent of the new area around Magdeburger Hafen, HafenCity and the existing city center are growing together. The Inner Alster is only 900m away and thus just a few minutes’ walk from Magdeburger Hafen, interconnected by the central “Domplatz” axis. Inside HafenCity, Überseequartier, Elbtorquartier and Brooktorquartier are closely connected, for instance via the new Busanbrücke bridge, opened towards the end of 2010. An embankment promenade up to 12m wide runs along the western side of Magdeburger Hafen.
Ramps, steps and clumps of green shrubs lead from road level onto the historic quay level. The difference in elevation integrates the site for the Osaka 9 sustainability pavilion; the ecological aspects of HafenCity have been exhibited here since 2011.