Central corporate location
Brooktorkai/Ericus’ position at the interfaces of both Speicherstadt and existing city center makes it a suitable corporate location
Water and brick are the setting for the Brooktorkai/Ericus quarter surrounded by the Speicherstadt UNESCO World Heritage Site, Brooktorhafen harbor and the connecting canal to Holländischbrookfleet. Like a meander, the buildings stretch from the north-eastern HafenCity entrance along the eponymous Brooktorkai and, in terms of color and height, materially reference the red brick environment of the historic Speicherstadt on the opposite side. While planning for Brooktorkai (less Ericusspitze) stemmed from Hamburg architects gmp – Gerkan, Marg und Partner, the winning architectural concepts for the buildings here came from gmp, as well as Jan Störmer Architekten (Hamburg) and Antonio Citterio and Partners (Milan).
Unlike in the rest of HafenCity, the residential element in this quarter is of little significance, although one of the three small towers in the ensemble by Brooktorhafen does have 30 apartments with spectacular views of Lohsepark. Otherwise, traffic noise is too high for housing and the layout of the neighborhood is too narrow for noise protection. However, the quarter is a very popular base for businesses and private universities. With the SPIEGEL publishing house and DNVGL, Brooktorkai is home to two of HafenCity’s largest businesses. In addition, the two private universities right next door, the International School of Management (ISM) and the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, are educating future business experts.
Major publishing house at the gateway to HafenCity
Ericusspitze, the northeastern entrance to HafenCity, is dominated by 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 m² GFA, which was awarded the HafenCity gold Ecolabel in 2012. The two iconic white buildings on their shared red brick plinth were planned by Henning Larsen Architects (Copenhagen) and closely reference not only the Speicherstadt but also other dominant buildings in HafenCity. These include the Elbphilharmonie in the west and also the Elbtower, being built at the eastern end of HafenCity. Together they form the outer urban triangle of the whole area, so that the SPIEGEL building’s architectural concept also does justice to the location’s significant urban planning role as the entrée to HafenCity from the direction of the main station.
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, also offers generous open space for pedestrians and cyclists.
From Ericusspitze to the Elbe
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. 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.
The design of open spaces on Brooktorkai dock and Ericusspitze was the work of landscape architects WES & Partner (Hamburg) . 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, Oberhafen harbor basin and to Lohsepark.