The Arrival of Spring lets the Elbtower Grow

The first Elbtower floors

Every day, the Elbbrücken neighborhood turns a little more toward the future. Those who regularly cross the bridges over the Norderelbe and the Oberhafenkanal by train and car can see how the Elbtower is slowly growing in height.

The first floors of the future building’s hull are now in place where only recently excavators were digging up the soil and shoveling it onto trucks. “We are currently one month ahead of schedule. Now the shell is growing steadily upwards,” says Torben Vogelgesang, head of Signa Real Estate Management Germany GmbH in Hamburg.

Step by step, the building continues to rise. In December 2022, the 2,600 square meter floor slab was poured to form the future high-rise building’s foundation. Although the weather was far from ideal, the construction workers were able to carry out the large-scale concrete pour as planned. About 11,000 cubic meters of concrete and 3,400 tons of reinforcing steel now form a solid foundation. At the same time, construction crews prepared the reinforcement for the future floor slab under what will be the base levels area.

The walls for the elevator shafts and stairwells up to the first basement level have now been completed. The two shafts already poke above the construction fence. The whole building is growing upwards around a north and a south core.

The platform with the concrete formwork is climbing upwards right alongside

For these two cores, the construction workers from DOKA Schalungstechnik (DOKA Formwork Technology) use the special self-climbing formwork method. Concrete is poured into the formwork, so it must be attached to the inside and outside of the building cores. The formwork includes working platforms that rest around the building core. Because they are equipped with a hydraulic system, the entire platform and the formwork around it can be hoisted up into the next sections. It is by this method alone that it is possible for the Elbtower to grow continuously in height every week. By the end of the year, the building is expected to rise by 70 meters – which is 18 storeys high.

And regular users of the bridges will also recognize another special feature of the construction site: the complex sealing process facing the Oberhafenkanal. The sheet pile walls that seal the construction site to the canal extend deep into the Hamburg ground. The reason for this is that the canal is tide-dependent. The ebb and flow of the North Sea can be felt all the way to the Elbtower. At low tide, silt banks are exposed; at high tide, water pushes against the seals.

The Elbtower is scheduled for completion by the end of 2025. Up to 5,000 people will then work in the building. A special highlight will be the public viewing platform on the 55th floor. From that point, at a height of 225 meters, Hamburg residents will be able to see how the Elbbrücken neighborhood, HafenCity and Hamburg as a whole have changed.

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