Prime location: places to live and work by the water

Directly by the Elbe, a location punctuated by seven towers offering spectacular views from attractive apartments and outstanding office buildings

Photo shows Unilever Headquarter and Marco Polo Tower at Strankai

The first group of buildings in Strandkai - the Unilever hedquarters for German-speaking countries and the Marco Polo Tower residential block - is complete. They occupy an open area between the Elbe, the Marco Polo Terraces and the future Grasbrookpark (© ELBE&FLUT) Start slideshow

Seen from the Elbe bridges, Strandkai quarter is a prominent element in Hamburg’s southern city silhouette. The basic structure conceived by Böge Lindner architects (Hamburg) for the neighborhood is of perimeter blocks structured in seven high points rising 55 to 60 m, all of which are residential buildings. The six to seven-story perimeter blocks feature several tower tops and also integrate solitaire towers or are built free-standing.  Depending on their position, they also provide spectacular views of the River Elbe, the port, the Elbphilharmonie, Grasbrook harbor, as well as the inner city. Whereas the south-eastern end of the neighborhood opposite the cruise terminal on the Elbe mainly comprises office space for modern service businesses, residential construction dominates at Grasbrookpark, as well as on the eye-catching tip of the promontory (55-57), and in nearby Überseequartier. 

Outstanding sustainability 

In summer 2009, the first building was completed to the south of the Marco Polo Terraces: the ensemble, by Behnisch Architekten (Stuttgart), consists of an office building and a residential tower. The 25,000 sqm gross floor area (GFA) office building (59) has been in use since then by consumer goods group Unilever and the 1,100 employees of its German-speaking markets organization. The building’s sustainability credentials are impressive: in 2011 it was the first office building to be awarded the gold Hafen-City Ecolabel. The interior of the multi-award-winning Unilever office building features an atrium flooded with natural light, open-plan offices and horizontally staggered work stations. The ground floor, with its shops and events, is a public open space accessible to the public even outside office hours, linking the Marco Polo Terraces to the newly landscaped Elbe waterfront promenade and the Elbterrassen steps. 

Maco Polo Tower wins real estate "Oscar"

Like the Unilever headquarters building, the Marco Polo Tower (58) next door, with some 60 apartments, has also won multiple awards. In 2010, the residential tower won the real estate “Oscar”, the MIPIM award, in the residential developments category. The previous year it was named best building in the European Property Awards. The whole ensemble has become a landmark, with the tower around 60 m high and its staggered stories visible from far away, as striking as the Unilever building with its conspicuous façade. 

Adjoining it to the east, Quantum Projektentwicklung GmbH and Engel & Völkers Development GmbH are building new headquarters for Engel & Völkers (60) which will house the Engel & Völkers Akademie and an exhibition. Around half of the 21,000 sqm GFA to be created is designated for about 66 privately owned apartments, 30 rental apartments and for public amenities. Designed by the New Yorker and Pritzker prizewinner Richard Meier, an architectonic landmark will be built by early 2018 to the south of Grasbrook harbor. Further to the east, the current Cruise Center HafenCity will be replaced by 2021 by a new vertically organized terminal integrated into the southern section of Überseequartier. With two berths it will be capable of handling more than 3,600 passengers simultaneously. In addition to cruise ship operations, the complex building ensemble with its underground bus station, car parking slots and taxi stand, as well as hotel and retail space, will also incorporate other uses which are ingeniously interlinked. Since terminal operation will continue during construction of Überseequartier, plots 61, 62 and 63 cannot be built upon until 2021. 

Living on the quay point

In the area on the prominent site on Strandkai point (55-57) west of Unilever House around 500 residences are to be realized from mid-2017  among them many building-cooperative and affordable apartments. Perimeter block typologies are planned, to designs by Léon Wohlhage Wernik (Berlin), LRW Architekten und Stadtplaner (Hamburg) and BE Berlin, as well as two residential towers (about 60 m high, levelling with Marco Polo Tower), designed by Ingenhoven Architects (Düsseldorf) and Hadi Teherani Architects (Hamburg). Unusual cultural uses will move in at ground floor level: a 1,000 sqm children’s arts center (KinderKulturHaus) and the fairytale attraction Märchenwelt on some 3,000 sqm, as well as catering. Option holders are Aug. Prien Immobilien, HANSA Baugenossenschaft, Gemeinnützige Baugenossenschaft Bergedorf-Bille and Bauverein der Elbgemeinden. The forward 93 m of the quay point will remain unbuilt – providing a new public urban space, while western HafenCity will acquire a new city façade facing the Elbe, which will be continued at southern Überseequartier.

Neighborhood profile

  • Area
     6,9 hectares
    Total GFA: 190,000 sqm
  • Jobs
    c. 4,770
  • Commercial uses
    Office, hotel, retail, catering
  • Homes
  • Special institutions
    Cruise terminal (now Überseequartier),
  • Development timeframe
    2005 till 2021, 2021 till 2025 (plots 61-63 currently blocked)