Model facade for the Elbtower in HafenCity

Five years before the planned completion of the Elbtower in Hamburg’s HafenCity, a multi-storey model façade of what will be the city’s tallest building has been constructed.
The 1:1 façade prototype of the Elbe Tower is 11 meters high and 13.5 meters wide.

Elbtower model facade

Elbtower model facade outside © Helge Schwarzer

For the high-rise project “Elbtower” a single-phase client selection procedure was carried out. The tendering phase began on 31 May 2017. An interdisciplinary and independent jury selected the three applicants, with whom HafenCity Hamburg GmbH started negotiations simultaneously in November 2017, following approval by the Supervisory Board. In a final jury decision on 31st January 2018 SIGNA was able to assert itself among the three bidders as the future developer. The jury was convinced by the fact that the design by David Chipperfield Architects Berlin is respectfully embedded in Hamburg’s architectural culture and famous city silhouette. A mixed group of architects, urban planners and real estate experts unanimously voted for the design by David Chipperfield Architects Berlin.

Model facade for the Elbtower in HafenCity

Construction of the 245-meter high-rise is scheduled to begin in 2021. The investment company Signa had acquired the land near the Elbe bridges from the city. The planned 61-storey high-rise building is to be completed by 2025. The investor intends to invest around 700 million euros in the construction.

As a mixed-use high-rise with a gross floor area of approx. 104,000 m², the Elbtower is developing from a public, multi-purpose base with entertainment and edutainment areas, retail and gastronomy, semi-public uses such as a hotel, boarding house, fitness and wellness areas, children’s land and co-working areas, to modern and flexibly designed office space on the tower floors. The social and communicative meeting point of the building is a day-lit, roofed atrium.

Elbtower model facade

Elbtower model facade inside © Helge Schwarzer

The façade has the task of making the building appear light and graceful on the one hand, and calm and steadfast on the other. The external façade structure, which envelops the entire high-rise, consists of horizontals that represent the floor slabs and divide the tower in height. They are designed as walkable, open bridges. Between them, slightly set back, are vertical, storey-high, fixed lamellas that follow the building cubature and enclose the tower. They serve as sun protection for the interior spaces and are aligned differently depending on the direction of the compass. Both the slats and the horizontal webs are made of light-coloured coated aluminium profiles, which give the Elbe Tower an elegant and friendly appearance. A total of 17,684 of these slats will then be attached to the Elbe Tower.

Model facade for the Elbtower in HafenCity

In contrast to 1:100 models or digital drawings, the design of the 1:1 façade prototype can be touched. This true-to-scale “mock-up” allows materials, surfaces, colours and profiles to be checked and optimised during the planning phase. In addition, the sample façade is used for the selection of suitable glazing and coatings. The greatest possible dirt resistance of the surfaces is particularly important in the area of the harbour and railway lines. Different surface qualities are tested on the sample façade.

The Elbetower meets the highest sustainability criteria. It will be certified according to the Platinum Standard of the HafenCity Ecolabel and will fulfill the ambitious Smart Mobility concept of eastern HafenCity.

The Elbtower not only marks the end of the HafenCity development, but also marks the beginning of the entrance to the center of Hamburg. Together with the new Elbbrücken subway and urban rail station by Gerkan Marg and Partner architects, it will become a new urban hub that will radiate into the future urban development areas of Billebogen and Grasbrook.

You can learn more on our architectural tour HafenCity East.

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