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Living and working with port flair

Maritime Housing by the Kaufhaus Kanal

Visualisierung - Maritimes Wohnen am Kaufhauskanal, Bild: Behrendt Wohnungsbau KG (GmbH&Co.)/bloomimages Visualisierung - Maritimes Wohnen am Kaufhauskanal, Bild: Behrendt Wohnungsbau KG (GmbH&Co.)/bloomimages Bauarbeiten im Juni 2012 – Maritimes Wohnen am Kaufhauskanal, Bild: Martin Kunze Bauarbeiten im Mai 2012 – Maritimes Wohnen am Kaufhauskanal, Bild: Martin Kunze Bauarbeiten im Mai 2012 – Maritimes Wohnen am Kaufhauskanal, Bild: Martin Kunze Bauarbeiten im April 2012 – Maritimes Wohnen am Kaufhauskanal, Bild: Martin Kunze




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/fileadmin/Projekte/M43_Marina_auf_der_Schlossinsel/marina_482x150.jpg Living in the Harburg Dock

Marina on the ‘Schloßinsel’

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/fileadmin/Projekte/M41_Park_auf_der_Schlossinsel/214parkschlossinsel.jpg New free space qualities on Harburg Schloßinsel

Harburger Schloßinsel Park

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/fileadmin/Projekte/M42_Quartier_am_Park/quartierampark.jpg Living in a unique location

Park Quarter

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Maritime Housing by the Kaufhauskanal

A new housing area is being developed directly alongside the Kaufhauskanal, serving as a beacon within the district. Previously dominated by industry, the site on Harburg's Schlossinsel is now set to be transformed into an innovative residential district. The IBA project Maritime Housing on the Kaufhauskanal, with its unusual architecture, is a striking example of this type of transition.

The site beside the Kaufhauskanal offers optimal conditions for new housing. Future residents will be able to enjoy the historical atmosphere of the area, as well as the waterfront location and good transport connections. Listed and preserved harbour and warehouse buildings line the historical Harburger Schlossstrasse at the eastern end of the area. The small residential district on the eastern bank of the Kaufhauskanal, with around 170 housing units and a row of shops on the Harburger Schlossstrasse, will stand a little behind this historic backdrop, covering an area of almost 11,450 square metres.

International Architecture Competition

The implementation of this project was preceded by a peer review procedure. In order to promote the development of the Kaufhauskanal as a desirable place to live within Hamburg, the IBA cooperated closely with the Harburg district authorities to put this process in motion. The green light was given on 23 April 2009. Four international teams of architects, landscape architects, and experts were invited to put forward innovative ideas as part of an IBA workshop.

It was intended that their proposals should emphasise the special characteristics of the site, while also providing possible solutions for similar areas. In particular, it was necessary to respond to the excessive noise of the industry-dominated surroundings and the busy roads by using appropriate architecture, thus enabling residential and industrial areas to exist alongside one another.

The jury unanimously recommended that the tender be awarded to the design by the Copenhagen-based Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), in cooperation with Topotek 1 from Berlin.

Diverse Urban Planning and Innovative Architecture

The winning Danish design was chosen for its high level of innovation, plus the structure's potential as a beacon for other projects. According to the design, ten buildings are to be built on the site beside the Kaufhauskanal, covering 4336 square metres. The buildings are arranged in a checkerboard formation, allowing alternation between open and built-up space, and a high building density, in order to make the best use of the site. The unique configuration of the buildings also creates attractive open spaces with different characteristics.

Special features are incorporated into the architecture as well as the urban planning elements. The distinctive shape of the roofs catches the eye immediately. Unlike the classic pitched roof, the ridge line runs diagonally over the whole area of the structure. The steep angles of the building are aimed at providing maximum noise protection on the sides that are most exposed.

The material used for the walls can also be seen on the roof, giving the structure the appearance of a solid, single unit. The rhythmically spaced window openings and terraces break up this clear sense of unity and give the buildings their distinctive look. The interplay between the dark metal of the façades and the wooden window frames provides an additional appealing contrast.

All of the buildings have the same façade design, but the dimensions of the trapezium-shaped ground plans vary from one another. In most cases, there are three apartments on each of the five floors, all with access to a terrace and a large, open-plan kitchen/living room. Depending on their position, the apartments have two or three bedrooms. Residents' vehicles can be parked in the underground garage, which keeps the open spaces free of cars.

Building Progress and Archaeological Excavations

The design by the Bjarke Ingels Group will be carried out in a single construction phase. Six buildings within the northern part of the planning area will be built by the investor Behrendt Wohnungsbau. Construction work will begin in summer 2013. Since March 2012, excavations have been carried out on the building site by the Helms Museum. This is the largest excavation site within Hamburg, covering 1200 square metres, and countless important finds have already been made here. The construction site and a container housing displays will be open to visitors from March 2013.

Project Milestones

  • From March 2012: excavation work 
  • Summer 2012: real estate transfer of the site to the investor Behrendt Wohnungsbau for the first phase of construction
  • Summer 2013: start of the first phase of construction



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Harburger Schloßstraße
21079 Hamburg

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Sice: 11.434 qm

Property size: 18.451,86 qm

Units: 156 Apartments

Sizes of units: 71-97 qm

Project cost: 35.995.861 Euro



BIG Bjarke Ingels Group (Copenhagen)

Windels Architekten (Hamburg)


Landscape architects

TOPOTEK 1 (Berlin)



Dr. Jan Behrendt
Behrendt Wohnungsbau KG (GmbH & Co.)

Friedensallee 271
22763 Hamburg