Study Trip Hamburg October 9-11, 2019

Together with 30 architects from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, we visited a number of exceptional projects in the city of Hamburg (Germany). Herzog & de Meuron’s superb Elbphilharmonie was of course on the program, but Hamburg had much more to offer, like Chilihaus, Hafencity, Haubtbahnhof Hamburg, and IBA Hamburg and more. We also paid a vist to Stadtentwicklung und Wohnen. Participants were offered insight into how the city is developing and what opportunities there are for architects. I organized the trip and took the supervision, together with my colleague Marieke Giele. The trip was powered by Carlisle en Foamglas.

Hafencity in Hamburg (Germany) with a view on the harbour and the Elbphilharmonie

Hamburg is absorbing the major growth of the city by transforming, among other things, old port areas and former industrial estates near the center into urban residential environments. HafenCity is perhaps the best-known example of this: this former port area on the Elbe is being converted into a lively urban zone. It is one of the largest urban renewal projects in Europe, with 6,000 homes and 40,000 jobs.

The Masterplan for Hafencity was developed by Kees Christiaanse (KCAP). His office opted for a combination of fixed principles and operationally manageable rules. The area is characterized by an inner city mix of living, culture, tourism, leisure and activity. The eight sub-areas have been and will be developed descending from west to east. Because the existing harbor structure with its cranes and quays has been preserved, cohesion in the area is guaranteed.

Kees Christiaanse told me about the mix of functions two years ago: “In 1999 we won the competition for Hafencity in Hamburg. The strong side of this plan is that the blocks allow an enormous diversity and mix of functions. The result is a vibrant inner-city district with many urban facilities. In the Netherlands this did not happen in the same period. Outside the inner cities, our country is not very urban with small-scale, diverse economic activity. The port areas in Amsterdam and Rotterdam consist for 99% of homes, they should have had a lot more functional mix. ”

Moreover, sustainable thought has gone into the design of Hafencity. Dirk Meyhöfer wrote about this in De Architect: “The area is densely built up, which is useful from an ecological and logistical point of view. The houses meet all requirements with regard to heat insulation. New, alternative traffic concepts can only be discovered with a lot of imagination. The energy supply by means of district heating and block heating plants is exemplary and shows that the Hafencity is doing well internationally with its own certification system for its office buildings. ”

Read the whole article (in Dutch only)