Living, leisure and work between double waterfronts

A city for everyone: HafenCity’s largest harbor basin, is surrounded by a dense (social) blend of residential and leisure uses, green open space and workplaces

Over the next few years, a dense urban cityscape will grow up on the site – more than one kilometer in length – offering a range of housing and leisure opportunities, as well as commercial uses (© ELBE&FLUT) Start slideshow

In coming years, a sustainable “urban village” will grow up around Baakenhafen basin in the midst of this major city. On both sides of HafenCity’s longest harbor basin, a green, socially mixed neighborhood for living and leisure will develop. Social organizations have been involved in developing housing concepts for a variety of housing – much of it strongly subsidized (currently 39 percent) – for families, students and retired people. The neighborhood will also provide many work places..  

The topographical center will be Baakenpark, an artificial promontory extending over 1.6 ha, surrounded by water, which will fulfill a wide range of functions: as a green space and recreational area, as well as esthetic eye-catcher, but also as a connecting element between the northern and southern sections of the quarter. The whole neighborhood, apart from a few individual projects in the northeast, will probably be completed by 2021.

The urban planning competition for the neighborhood was won by APB Architekten (Hamburg) in August 2011. The moderately staggered height of the buildings is a particularly convincing feature of the design. They will all be of seven stories, some on the southern side in semi-open blocks, as well as a few smaller, open variations. The buildings will have spacious inner courtyards opening out toward the Elbe, forming an incisive perimeter to the city. The rhythmic arrangement of the plots to the north between the port and Versmannstrasse guarantees real protection against noise from Versmannstrasse and the railroad line. The buildings open out in a U-shape toward Baakenhafen harbor basin, forming a block on the street side. The courtyard residences and the water side are thus effectively shielded from noise, while future residents will all be able to enjoy the water aspect.

Green peninsula on harbor basin

The winner of the international open space competition for Baakenhafen quarter was announced in April 2012: the successful design by Atelier Loidl (Berlin) cleverly melds the diversity of leisure uses with the special port atmosphere of Baakenhafen. At its heart is the 1.6 ha Baakenpark promontory, whose playground, community and play building, trees and grassland, and imposing “Himmelsberg” mount will invite the public from spring 2018 to relaxation and active recreation pursuits. A pedestrian bridge to the north, designed by Hamburg architects Gerkan, Marg und Partner (gmp) and Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering (Stuttgart), will be installed in mid-2017, adding to the spatial integration of the two land areas.

Construction kick-off

An important first step toward development of the neighborhood was the opening of the award-winning Baakenhafen bridge in August 2013. This 170 m link is much more than a local bridge. It opened the way for infrastructural development of eastern HafenCity and, during reconstruction of Versmannstrasse and work on extending the U4 subway, also now and again channels traffic to and from the south of Hamburg. The central segment of the bridge can be lifted using the power of the tide. 

The first ground-breaking ceremony for a construction project (81a/b) took place in early summer 2015. By May 2018, DS-Bauconcept will have finished a family hotel for the Jufa group with 575 rooms and special facilities for children and teenagers. At the same time Justus Grosse Projektentwicklung GmbH is responsible for building around 150 publicly subsidized and privately financed homes. Plans are by KBNK Architekten and PFP Architekten (both Hamburg). Construction of the neighboring Campustower building (80) got under way in May 2016. This 15-floor tower will house office concepts with controlled rents for start-ups and entrepreneurs, premises for HCU opposite, and the head office of GARBE, the company responsible for the whole project. It will also include rental and privately owned apartments in a building quietly located by the water with views of Baakenhafen. Designs for the office space in the total 22,000 sqm gross floor area (GFA) are by Delugan Meissl Associated Architects (Vienna). Residential space planning is by sop architekten (Düsseldorf).

The architectural competition for the sports dome (83a) located to the east on Gerda Gmelin square was finalized in June 2016. The winning project, by PB Sports-Dome Management GmbH, offers an extremely diverse, yet energy-efficient indoor sport and leisure facility for more than 25 new sports activities. The design by Hascher Jehle Architektur, with around 12,000 sqm GFA on a total seven levels, includes a 25-m diving tower, as well as an equally high body-flying facility, simulating the free fall of a parachutist. Football club HSV will be using the location. The opening is planned for mid-2019.

Urban village

Around Lola Rogge square in the southern part of the neighborhood, an “urban village center” will grow up, providing residents with an attractive market place, as well as recreational, sport and cultural facilities. Ground floors will accommodate a supermarket, small shops, bars and restaurants. Directly adjacent (plot 94a-c), a learning and family center with a four-stream primary school and kindergarten for 200 children will be built in 2019/20. A public underground parking garage under Lola Rogge square will benefit the convenience shopping area and takes into consideration pick-up and collection for the education complex. Building works will kick off for many of the surrounding projects by mid-2017. On plots 91, 92a/b and 93 GWG AG (Stuttgart) and Richard Ditting GmbH & Co. KG are building a total 436 apartments with views of the Elbe and Baakenhafen basin to plans by Lorenzen (Hamburg), Max Dudler (Berlin), KPW (Hamburg), Meck (Munich), Schenk + Waiblinger (Hamburg), as well as 6a Architects (London). The projects include multi-generation living for families, students, retirees and people with disabilities. On plots 89 and 95, four building cooperatives (Allgemeine Deutsche Schiffszimmerer-Genossenschaft, Hamburger Wohnen, Bauverein der Elbgemeinden, and HANSA Baugenossenschaft), various social welfare agencies, as well as four joint building ventures are building a very diversified and socially mixed, subsidized range of homes. These include the family joint building venture Only recognizable from outside because of its chimney, “Tor zur Welt” , with the first large mainly wooden building in Hamburg; the “Arche Nora”  building joint venture, which appeals to women of different generations; the tenants’ building joint venture “Gemeinsam älter werden”, and “Kammerkombinat”, a tenants’ building joint venture made up of people active in the arts and culture. Homes suitable for families and older people were thus elements in designs presented in January 2016  by the Hamburg firms Schaltraum, LRW,  bof, Huke-Schubert Berge, Berlin architects KADEN + LAGER and florian krieger of Darmstadt, while social and therapeutic projects are also to be integrated. From early 2018, more cooperative rental apartments are to be built on plot 90a by Altonaer Spar und Bauverein eG and FLUWOG NORDMARK building cooperative; just over half will be publicly subsidized.

More options to plan

The option for plot 82 a/b went to the GARBE company and the Halbinsulaner joint building venture. In addition to apartments for building venture members, there will be subsidized homes for rental, privately financed apartments, as well as spaces for urban production workshops (small manufacturers) on the ground floor. An option on the plot, which is shared with the Sports Dome site (83b), was allocated to builders FRANK-Gruppe and the Ankerplatz joint building venture. In addition to residential space for the joint building venture, privately financed rental and owner apartments and subsidized accommodation (including for Alsterdorf Assistenz) are to be built. On plot 96a/b the three building joint ventures GleisOase, Am Leuchtturm and Einklang kicked off, while an option for plot 97 was granted to the Antares company with HIH-Gruppe as well as the Heimatmole joint building venture. The site will offer a mix of joint building venture residences, privately owned apartments and subsidized, as well as affordable housing units. SAGA GWG is also realizing a residential project on plot 99 consisting exclusively of subsidized apartments. 

Last call for tenders

Since the call for tenders was issued on three further plots (84 a/b, 98 and 100 a/b) for five buildings with a total 300 apartments in an attractive waterside location on Baakenhafen, with office and commercial uses for over 400 employees, and options to plan were granted for plot 87, all residential plots in Baakenhafen are out to tender until the end of 2017.

Houses in the water

A clue to the overall upmarket character to be expected in Baakenhafen is in the architecture of the six HafenCity “Waterhouses”, designed by the Japanese Pritzker prizewinner Shigeru Ban and Szyszkowitz-Kowalski from Graz. With their rather fragile outlines, the residential towers, a modern interpretation of living on water, merge seamlessly into maritime Baakenhafen’s architectural vernacular. Realization is planned by the end of 2021.

Perfect transport links

In terms of transport, Baakenhafen neighborhood will have excellent connections. Construction of access infrastructure and renovation of the historic docks began back in 2011. By mid-2017, the central road artery, Versmannstrasse, will be flood-secure and geared to future traffic demands, having been raised to more than 8 m above sea level. The official return to service will be later, however, since the road surface is needed as interim storage for major building sites in western and central HafenCity. At the same time as the road works, the U4 subway line is being extended from HafenCity University station to Elbbrücken station. Work is going according to plan: the tracks and subway stop and rapid transit station at Elbbrücken will be in operation at the end of 2018. At that point the U4 line will also connect eastern neighborhoods of HafenCity to the Hamburg subway network, allowing transfers to and from the rapid transit S-Bahn. The stretch between HafenCity University and Elbbrücken stations will be around 1.3 km long and will take about two minutes. The subway line will run underneath the then raised Versmannstrasse as far as Baakenwerder Strasse and then resurface toward Elbbrücken at about the level of the bridges.

Sustainable mobility 

Europe’s largest neighborhood innovation project for car-sharing and electric mobility is taking shape in the eastern neighborhoods. The aim is not only to achieve a marked reduction in private car use, but each individual building, as well as entire quarters are to be designed to make them ecologically and socially attractive to users. At the same time, building costs will also be cut, as a whole story can be left out that would normally house parked cars. Within this framework, only 40 car parking slots will be provided per 100 apartments, which adds up to a saving of EUR 30,000–40,000 per parking space. Also, one third of the spaces will be part of a car-sharing system including electric vehicles which should be operational by 2025. Many residents will find their own vehicles superfluous because car-sharing will always be avilable in their own buildings. In combination with electric bicycles and cycling, transport costs per household can be cut considerably. At the same time, without the need for so much car parking, public space will be enhanced. CO2 emissions should be reduced although driven mileage is the same because of continual modernization of cars and the rising proportion of electric vehicles. Invitations to tender and announcement of the operator will take place in 2017.

Neighborhood profile

  • Area
    24 hectares
    Total GFA: 395,000 sqm
  • Jobs
    c. 4,500 (including Baakenhöft)
  • Commercial uses
    Office, leisure institutions, hotel, retail, catering, services
  • Homes
  • Special institutions
    1.6 hectare artificially in-filled
    area for play and recreational
    facilities in Baakenhafen harbor,
    primary school, childcare
  • Development timeframe
    2012 till 2022 (except
    individual projects in northeast)