Central corporate location

In the Speicherstadt Brooktorkai/Ericus’ position at the interfaces of both Speicherstadt and existing city center makes it a suitable corporate location 

Aerial photo shows the hole quarter

With its optimal location vis-à-vis the existing city center, Brooktorkai's meandering structure extends over four building plots. Ericus Contor and the Spiegel publishing house on Ericusspitze are currently under constructionand establish a continuous connection (© ELBE&FLUT) Start slideshow

The Brooktorkai/Ericus neighborhood has a really maritime feel: it is framed by the historic brick buildings of the Speicherstadt, by Brooktorhafen basin, and the water passage linking Holländischbrookfleet canal. Also characteristic of Brooktorkai is its meandering building structure, punctuated and loosened up by three nine-story towers. The Speicherstadt, whose colors are echoed in the red-brick facings, is clearly referenced here. Urban planning for Brooktorkai (less Ericusspitze) stemmed from Hamburg architects gmp – Gerkan, Marg und Partner, while the winning architectural concepts for the buildings here came from gmp, as well as Jan Störmer Architekten (Hamburg) and Antonio Citterio and Partners (Milan).

Traffic noise and the narrow layout of the neighborhood mean that, unusually, the residential element in this quarter is of little significance. Although one of the three towers in the ensemble does have 30 apartments with views of Lohsepark, the quarter is primarily an important base for businesses. The move of 1,600 employees of Germanischer Lloyd into their 54,000 sqm gross floor area (GFA) Brooktorkai office here in March 2010 was the biggest ever corporate relocation into HafenCity. In addition, right next door the International School of Management (ISM) and the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management have been preparing students for future business careers since 2010 and 2011 respectively. 

Major publishing house marks entry to HafenCity

The most conspicuous buildings on Ericusspitze, the northeastern entrance to HafenCity, are the Spiegel group’s publishing house and the Ericus Contor building. In September 2011, the noted media group transferred its business activities into a new building here of around 30,000 sqm GFA, which was awarded the HafenCity gold Ecolabel in 2012. The publishing house and Ericus Contor (20,000 sqm GFA) with their pale façades and massive shared plinth were planned by Henning Larsen Architects (Copenhagen). In closely referencing the Speicherstadt as well as the Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall, the architectural concept also rightly pays tribute to the location’s significant urban planning role as the entrée to HafenCity. 

From Ericusspitze to the Elbe

Several bridges cross Brooktorhafen harbor. Ericus bridge, renovated since June 2014, was originally built in 1870 as a swing bridge for rail traffic. Now it links the neighborhood with Lohsepark, while Shanghaibrücke road bridge, designed by Dietmar Feichtinger (Paris, Vienna), creates additional open space. The bridge, which seems more like a square, almost as wide as it is long, offers generous space for pedestrians and cyclists. 

Brooktorpromenade leads under the bridge, past Brooktorhafen basin, to Dar es Salaam square, inaugurated in June 2011. On the way the route also traverses the León bridge, another Dietmar Feichtinger design, this time for pedestrians only. Finally the promenade follows the embankment of Magdeburger Hafen – taking in Störtebeker Ufer, Busanbrücke bridge and Elbtorpromenade – toward HafenCity University (HCU) and Baakenhafen. With Buenos Aires quay completed since late summer 2014, a road-crossing-free link now runs from Ericusspitze down to the Elbe, highlighting once again how bridges combined with promenades form the backbone of HafenCity’s close-knit pedestrian infrastructure on the waterside, representing a special quality of the new cityscape.

Changing levels

WES & Partner Landschaftsarchitekten (Hamburg) was responsible for the design of other open spaces on Brooktorkai dock and Ericusspitze. This included a 30 m long stone sofa on Brooktorkaipromenade offering views of the harbor basin. A spacious flight of steps at Ericusspitze invites a change of level – steps for sitting or walking lead onto a plaza with sweeping views over the Ericus canal and Oberhafen harbor basin.

Neighborhood profile

  • Area
    4 hectares
    Total GFA: 106,000 sqm
  • Jobs
    c. 3,350
  • Commercial uses
    Office, education, retail, catering
  • Homes
  • Development timeframe
    2007 till late 2011