HafenCity Hamburg constructs “zero-emissions building” as its new company headquarters

HafenCity Hamburg GmbH is constructing a new zero-emissions office building in the Am Sandtorpark/Grasbrook neighborhood to ensure that it is best positioned for its growing urban development tasks and the associated increase in personnel and space requirements in the future. Early public participation started on October 30, 2020. Construction of the building is expected to start in 2021, with completion scheduled for 2023.
Together with its subsidiaries Billebogen Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG and Science City Hamburg Bahrenfeld GmbH, HafenCity Hamburg GmbH is now responsible for four of Hamburg’s future projects – HafenCity, Grasbrook, Billebogen and Science City Hamburg Bahrenfeld. HafenCity Hamburg GmbH is constructing a new office building in the Am Sandtorpark/Grasbrook quarter in order to be best positioned for these growing urban development tasks and the associated increase in personnel and space requirements in the future. At the same time, the building project will redress what was an unsatisfactory urban development situation and complete the development of the neighborhood. As a zero-emissions building, it will set new standards for sustainable construction and the careful use of resources. In the basement, the building will also provide space for the shoreside power system for supplying cruise ships with sustainable energy. In order to create planning rights for the office building, the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing is drawing up the HafenCity 18 development plan. Early public participation will start on October 30, 2020, with construction of the building expected to begin in 2021 and completion planned for 2023.

While HafenCity is developing dynamically eastward to the Elbbrücken bridges, the situation at the Am Dalmannkai/San-Franzisco-Strasse intersection is still unsatisfactory. It came about in the 1990s, before the HafenCity Masterplan was adopted, with the construction of the combined heat and power plant that continues to be an important element in the sustainable supply of heat to western HafenCity. With the new office building, the opportunity is now being taken to give the disorderly surroundings of the plant a clearer urban design and to lend the urban space more character through new uses.

A six-story office building with a gross floor area (GFA) of approximately 7,200 m² is to be built on the approximately 1,500 m² site. Attractive uses are planned at the street level of the building, such as retail units, catering, culture or services, which will create further amenities for the neighborhood and contribute to a lively street space. Due to the proximity of the new cruise terminal currently under construction (Hamburg Cruise Center HafenCity), the necessary shoreside power system for supplying cruise ships with sustainable energy will be integrated into the basement of the new building. This will significantly reduce the ships’ pollutant emissions when they are alongside.

HafenCity Hamburg GmbH will construct the building as its future new corporate headquarters and use it itself. In the competition for the construction of the office building, which it launched in September 2020 in agreement with the Hamburg Ministry of Urban Development and Housing, the company has set high quality standards: “As an urban development company, we have a special responsibility to actively promote sustainable energy use and resource-efficient construction in the face of global climate challenges. HafenCity Hamburg GmbH has been requiring developers to comply with demanding environmental standards since as early as 2007, when it introduced its own ecolabel. With our new company building, we are now joining a small number of exemplary projects in HafenCity that are leading the way internationally,” says Managing Director Dr Andreas Kleinau, who joined the management team of HafenCity Hamburg GmbH in mid-September and is responsible for planning and implementing the building.
The requirements placed on the participating planning offices as part of the architecture competition are correspondingly high. The zero-emissions building is to be CO2-neutral in terms of its overall balance sheet, i.e. over the entire life cycle of the building from construction and operation to dismantling and disposal. According to the so-called cradle-to-cradle principle, the origin of materials and future deconstruction and reuse must be included in the planning from the very beginning. In addition to the ambitious sustainability goals, it is also important to develop a spatial program that is adapted to modern, digitalized working environments. The spaces should create the greatest possible flexibility and openness for HafenCity employees but also for future tenants.
HafenCity Hamburg GmbH wants to use the new building to create the conditions for the company’s future strategy: “HafenCity Hamburg GmbH’s growing urban development tasks also require new ways of working and forms of communication. The new building now provides an opportunity to consider together how we can develop the organization further and how we can establish new forms of collaboration, whether analog or digital, both among employees and with our numerous partners,” says Dr Andreas Kleinau, describing the new challenges.
The results of the architectural competition are expected to be presented to the public in early December. In order to create planning rights for the site, which is currently still part of the cogeneration plant’s operating area, the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing is currently drawing up the HafenCity 18 development plan. Following the involvement of public bodies in July 2020, early public participation is now to take place. The documents will be on display for one month from October 30, 2020 to November 30, 2020.  They will also be available on the Internet.