An architectural icon – but a subtle one

Hamburg’s new landmark

Elbtower with North Elbe and Oberhafen Canal

The Elbtower will probably be the most impressive and publicly visible symbol of a prosperous city facing the future.

It is a departure into a new era. Since the Hamburg Senate approved the development plan for the Elbbrücken (Elbe bridges) East site in December 2021, one thing has become certain: in a few years, Hamburg will have a new landmark. The Elbtower is set to be the most impressive and publicly visible symbol of a prosperous city that is facing the future. 

Together with the Elbphilharmonie concert hall, the Elbtower will help draw a skyline full of verve above the Elbe river. It lends urban grace to the part of Hamburg that stretches towards the Elbe. Seen from the east bank of the river, the building fits elegantly and naturally into the silhouette of the city. Viewed from the city centre, the Elbtower demonstrates the Hanseatic city’s aspiration to keep pace with the future.

“Buildings create a city and make an important contribution to the cultural identity of a society. In doing so, they lay the foundation for urbanity and become the foundation for spaces that can provide people with opportunities for their lives and work,” says David Chipperfield. The architect of the Elbtower is one of the great designers of classical modernism. He has designed buildings all over the world that have had an impact beyond their time – in Seoul, Berlin, London and New York.

Elbtower pedestal facing the river Elbe
The lower floors next to the river Elbe
Elbtower und Elbphilharmonie
Elbtower von oben

A profoundly Hanseatic project

And so the Elbtower will leave its mark on Hamburg too – by its dimensions alone. When completed, it will rise 64 storeys into the sky. From above, visitors will see the world with entirely new eyes. With a total height of 245m above sea level, the Elbtower will create an unprecedented view. The atmosphere at the workplace will be stimulating, the view of Hamburg, of the Elbe and the city’s canals will provide an extraordinary source of inspiration. The tallest building in northern Europe and the third tallest tower in Germany will be a symbol of a new vision. From here, the view will wander into the distance, onto completely unobstructed horizons, far into the countryside and onto the sea that so characterises Hamburg.

As a highrise, the Elbtower will shape its neighbourhood. It will enliven and enrich its surroundings – with new office and workplace models, with an innovative hotel as well as café and restaurant concepts. With a diverse range of cultural and leisure activities. And with an openness that makes the Elbtower a part of Hamburg’s public sphere from the very beginning. In the future, thousands of people will work, go out or simply live in the Elbbrückenquartier. The Elbtower will locate the quarter in the minds of Hamburg’s residents and create a striking visual point of reference in the cityscape.

A part of the city and the urban society

Because it will have such a lasting impact on the city, the Elbtower must naturally also become an integral part of it: its exposed location in HafenCity makes it the new gateway to the city centre. The Elbtower offers around 104,000m² of gross floor space. Entertainment and edutainment areas over the lower floors, retail, restaurants and a hotel as well as other places to stay, fitness and wellness centres and co-working spaces create public amenities for all Hamburg citizens.

With the new S-Bahn and U-Bahn station right on its doorstep, the Elbtower offers optimal transport connections through the metropolis and into the surrounding area. It is directly accessible for all Hamburg citizens who want to enjoy the Elbtower’s diverse range of restaurants and leisure facilities.

Advantages for the city

At the same time, the building offers tangible advantages: for the urban and regional economy, the project has three major benefits which are good arguments for Germany’s second-largest city. The Elbtower takes pressure off the real estate market. Despite the pandemic and working from home, the demand for office space is growing. In addition, the building will become a magnet for travellers and visitors – tourism is one of the Hanseatic city’s most important economic sectors and Hamburg is one of the most popular city destinations in all of Europe. And finally, the Elbtower will be a true pioneer for sustainability, setting new standards with sophisticated energy management systems and a consistently sustainable design to minimise the carbon footprint.

The Hamburg Senate has entrusted the project to a developer who has been managing outstanding real estate projects in Germany and Austria for more than 20 years. SIGNA Real Estate operates many projects in Germany and abroad and has also been active in Hamburg for a long time with the Gänsemarkt-Passage, the Alsterhaus and the Alsterarkaden.

A holistic view of the project, the highest standards of economic efficiency, technology and sustainability as well as reliability, fairness and adherence to deadlines characterise the philosophy of the company founded by René Benko. These qualities, combined with financial security, were decisive in awarding the building project to SIGNA.

Blick vom Elbtower

A statement for Hamburg

The construction is planned to take four years, after which the Elbtower will stand on the banks of the Elbe. Towering high into the sky and anchored deep in the ground. Iconic and innovative, the Elbtower is both a statement and an understatement – it is as typically Hamburg as the harbour, as the sky above the Elbe. The history of the Elbtower will become part of the history of this great city.

The excavation pit is still being dug. It will be many metres deep to accommodate the foundation of this colossus. Diaphragm walls are currently being constructed to secure the pit against the water. 63 pile foundations are being driven into the ice-age soil of the Hanseatic city. The story of the “Hamburg pile dwelling” was written by journalists of the ZEIT – a little incredulous at the technical size and a little irritated that such a building was being erected right on their doorstep. More stories like this will appear in the future.

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