Oberhafen – the Creative and Cultural Quarter
Centrally located to the south of Oberhafen harbor basin, a dynamic cultural and creative neighborhood will develop, bringing fresh potential for Hamburg
The centrally located Oberhafen neighborhood is well connected to the rest of HafenCity. Later it will also encompass the Central Wholesale Market site to the east and its creative influence will spill over into the central neighborhoods of HafenCity, Rotenburgsort, City Süd and the "museum mile" (© ELBE&FLUT) Start slideshow
Although the area is still designated for railroad use and the buildings will continue to be used mainly for logistics until at least 2014, creative uses have been no stranger to the area for at least ten years and it is the scene of regular cultural events. Thus the whole neighborhood is the nucleus of a creative and cultural location, well connected to the rest of HafenCity but also to Rothenburgsort, the new cultural activities in City Süd, and Hamburg’s “museum mile”. To do this, the “normal” HafenCity development process has been turned on its head. Instead of a new urban concept, the point of departure for development here is to find new uses for the existing buildings; a step by step transformation. The mainly one-story goods sheds form the foundation: the sites will not be sold, but remain the permanent property of the Special fund for city and port (HafenCity Hamburg GmbH), not least to retain the possibility of shaping development in Hamburg’s interests.
The various development concepts for the neighborhood will be worked out during the course of an intensive dialog process, based on a longer development timeframe of up to ten years. Throughout the development phase, HafenCity Hamburg GmbH will be cooperating closely with Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft GmbH. At the same time, energetic exchanges of ideas are taking place with creative enterprises and many other creative and interested individuals. A kick-off symposium at the end of March 2011 generated the first impetus, which has been followed by many other events and discussions. The organization Oberhafen e.V. is promoting the careful and sustainable development of the neighborhood into a lively location for art, culture and creative activities. It has taken on the task of supporting creation of optimal conditions for creative work in Oberhafen.
Oppurtunities for culture and creative industries
Today, long warehouses and multistory frontage buildings are the main features of Oberhafen neighborhood. Converting these buildings – most of which are fully leased and largely in use by a logistics company until the end of 2013 – will lend them a strong public character. Nevertheless, new usage permits and considerable modernization will be needed, as well as flood-protection for individual buildings. Residential uses, if at all, would only be possible in newbuilds integrated into flood protection measures, owing to the risk of flooding.
In the medium term, new-builds could complement the existing buildings. Private or cooperative investment could be possible if new buildings are used for cultural and creative purposes and, like the older buildings, sublet at relatively affordable rents. The quarter’s mix of old and new could create around 500 jobs in various cultural/creative industry branches. On this basis, a lasting creative scene in Oberhafen should evolve that could spill over later into the Central Wholesale Market site to the east.
Because of the initial complexity of local conditions, expressions of interest were invited for the first time at the beginning of 2012 to find a use concept for a newly vacant 600 sqm site that could help in the initial phase to establish and brand the new culture and creative industry location. From the 15 proposed concepts submitted, an interdisciplinary jury selected Hanseatic Materialverwaltung. This unusual concept sets out to supply Hamburg cultural institutions, state schools, universities, societies as well as involved citizens with equipment and scenery for social, ecological or creative projects. Five other concepts submitted were recommended to be followed up for medium-term implementation on other sites in the quarter.
In fall 2013 bids were invited on another 6,000 sqm of space for creative users, with commencement of use from mid-2014. At the same time, small catering and exhibition and presentation spaces should reinforce the public function of the neighborhood and encourage its integration into the rest of HafenCity.
Playing fields on the waterfront
Although creative and cultural uses will be an important focus in Oberhafen, unbuilt areas in the neighborhood also offer opportunities for a range of sport and leisure activities. From 2015 extensive public facilities for sports of all kinds will be developed on the embankment of Oberhafen basin on the site of former rail tracks, including a soccer ground. The facilities will serve children and youngsters from inner city areas and HafenCity in particular and can also be used by sports clubs. The gymnasium and the two HafenCity primary schools will also be able to make use of these fields for school sport.
- Area: 8.9 hectares
Total GFA: 25,000 sqm (existing)
- Jobs and commercial uses
Jobs: approx. 500
Uses: creative and culture business,
- Special institutions
Sports facilities in the east
- Development timeframe
Development centering on existing
builds and perhaps additional
new-buildings, detailed concept
thru intensive dialog to 2015