HAMBURG: Harbor City

Time to read:

2 minutes

The Harbor City (Hafenstadt) quarter is where the largest inner-city redevelopment project on the Continent is to be completed between 2020 and 2030.

Old warehouses that used to be part of Hamburg’s free-zone port are being replaced with offices, hotels, shops, museums and (largely upscale) residential areas.

At nearly 400 acres, this city within a city is expected to double the population of downtown Hamburg with thousands of new waterfront apartments.

This balcony-laden apartment building is a new look for Harbor City.

Strolling along a canal under ship-tending machinery, a reminder of the area’s roots.

Lunch under an awning on a gray day, where stevedores instead of waiters used to ply their trade.

The Elbphilharmonie, or “Elphi,” is a backdrop to dockside dining in Harbor City.

Just as the city is founded on sea trade, so is the concert hall. The foundation is one of Hamburg’s former red-brick shipping warehouses. The former “Kaispeicher A” held cocoa, tea and tobacco. The glass facade comprises 1,100 panes, many individually bent and painted with gray chrome dots. In all, the facade’s surface is the size of two football fields.

Those figures along the wide break between founding brick and soaring glass are concert-goers enjoying the view from the Elphi.

The Elbphilharmonie brings Hamburg some of Europe’s most visionary architecture. The pearl of Harbor City is said to be one of the largest and acoustically most advanced concert halls in the world. It opened in January 2017 at a cost of nearly $900 million. In the two years since, the “Elphi” has become an icon representing the city and its most modern aspirations.

Wide, broad concrete steps down from the Elbphilharmonie form an informal plaza. The “plaza” gives office workers a view of the water with lunch.

The wave-like roofline of the concert hall is instantly recognizable along the harbor skyline.

Nearby Unilever headquarters is a sculpture of modern architecture.

The vision of the grand, multi-decade urban renewal project extends to the public spaces at the base of the architectural giants. Community spaces such as Vasco da Gama Platz, the Magellan Terraces and the Marco Polo Terraces already are popular for lunch, sun worshipping, people watching or . . .

… just hanging out by the adjacent canals.


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