Green and metropolitan
With its small parks, the neighborhood offers ideal conditions to residents, Katharinenschule primary pupils and employees of surrounding companies alike
Am Sandtorpark/Grasbrook is the second large neighborhood to be completed. This area, extending from Sandtorhafen harbor in the west to Überseequartier in the east, with its primary school and family homes around Grasbrook park, is a haven of neighborly life. Designed by EMBT of Barcelona, the small Sandtorpark, around which many important buildings in the neighborhood cluster, is a key local element setting the urban scene. HafenCity’s first small park was inaugurated with a neighborhood street party in April 2011. Landscaping of the green play areas is dominated by lawns and hillocks, where children from the directly adjacent Katharinenschule can often be found playing.
A little more than two years later, in August 2013, the 7,100 m² Grasbrookpark was opened, another popular focus in western HafenCity, in whose planning neighborhood children had a say. Sometimes full to bursting on a fine summer’s day, and in demand from way beyond HafenCity, this large grassy play park is even well visited in winter by local children and adults, and is a well-loved destination for walking excursions. EMBT's design concept was transformed into a green play park here through an intensive public participation process.
Classes at HafenCity’s Katharinenschule school on Sandtorpark started at an early stage of HafenCity’s development, in late summer 2009. School activities for a total 450 children can be accommodated in school, kindergarten, or other kinds of all-day supervision. The integrated sports hall is intensively used after school as well, e.g. by Störtebeker sports club or sports groups from local companies. The school building, designed by architects Spengler & Wiescholek, which also contains 30 apartments, is one of the few in Germany to integrate a mix of uses – as well as having most of its play area on the roof. The ecological building also carries the gold HafenCity Ecolabel. Occupants of the Hafenliebe joint building venture right next to Katharinenschule school live in 55 family-friendly homes. Another 68 apartments were subsequently realized in the Hofquartier project.
The neighborhood’s final building project, on Grasbrookpark, is also residential. To plans by BKK-3 architects (Vienna) 135 apartments with a kindergarten as well as other retail uses were built here after lengthy consideration of whether housing was even possible near the cogeneration plant sited there. The apartments are a mix of cooperative and subsidized homes, alongside ateliers and student accommodation. The unusually mixed-use building along the northern edge of Grasbrookpark literally merges into the park, separated only by a footpath, as a street was deliberately omitted here.
Sandtorpark: corporate location
Overall the neighborhood is highly international and has attracted many companies. In the Hamburg-America-Center designed by renowned US architect Richard Meier, the Amerikazentrum Hamburg e.V. society offers a varied program of cultural events. The largest area of space in the office building bordering Sandtorpark has been occupied since fall 2011 by the Buss group’s offices. Since the end of 2017, the area has boasted the restaurant bianc by star chef Matteo Ferrantino as one of HafenCity’s many gastronomical highlights.The three buildings of the adjacent International Coffee Plaza were also conceived by Pritzker prizewinner Meier. The plaza was developed by the Neumann family, whose eponymous group of companies occupies the 13-story Ellipse tower, one of the neighborhood’s architectonic landmarks, with the German headquarters of the Eukor shipping line.
Right on Sandtorpark two other large buildings also offer space for companies: on the northern side, the 16,000 m² GFA SKAI building, built in 2009, with its eye-catching façade of copper elements, was designed by the Hamburg firm, Böge Lindner architects; to Sandtorpark’s south is the Centurion Commercial Center (14,600 m² GFA), holder of the gold HafenCity Ecolabel, in which most businesses are of small and medium size, especially from the cruise industry, with retailers and catering on the ground floor. Further south on Grosser Grasbrook, Kühne Logistics University (KLU) and Medical School Hamburg (MSH) moved into the former SAP building in fall 2013. At its time the first building in HafenCity, it was completed in 2003. Right next door is logistics group Kühne + Nagel, which relocated its headquarters here back in 2006.