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/fileadmin/Projekte/M50_Harburger_Binnenhafen/214har_binnen.jpg The leap across the Elbe Islands lands here

Harburg Inland Port

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Wilhelmsburg Central


Wilhelmsburg Central is nothing less than a new district at the heart of the Elbe islands. By 2013 the area between Wilhelmsburger Reichsstrasse and Bahnstrasse became a diverse setting for living, working, and leisure, concentrated in the igs hamburg 2013 Park. Wilhelmsburg Central is IBA Hamburg’s biggest urban planning project, an important stepping stone for the leap across the Elbe and also one of the most innovative districts in Europe. This is where residents and visitors can look at how we shall be building our home environment in future. Wilhelmsburg Central provides solutions to questions about how to reconcile the marked contrasts of the Elbe islands – city and harbour, quiet and noise, greenery and transport hubs – and improve the quality of life for residents.

From Urban Backwater to a ...

For a long time, the disjointedness that characterised Wilhelmsburg was nowhere more acutely felt than in the very geographical centre of the Elbe islands. Only a few minutes’ journey from Hamburg’s main train station, highways and railway lines essentially tore the district apart, leaving a gaping hole. In a growing city like Hamburg, the major potential for development in this area went unnoticed. The IBA Hamburg’s Metrozones theme features Wilhelmsburg Central as its largest new construction project, taking on the task of bringing this inner-city backwater back to life. 

... Connected Hub

The Wilhelmsburg Central project will see a dream that dates back over a century finally come true. In 1903 the Town Hall was built on land belonging to the farmer Johann von Drateln, in the hope that it would serve as a proper centre for the up-and-coming Wilhelmsburg area. This wish was reiterated at the Future Conference 2001/2002, and in 2013 it came to fruition. An inner-city wasteland is set to become a thriving centre.

Master Plan for a New Centre

The development of Wilhelmsburg Central has been based on the master plan drawn up by the Dutch/Luxembourgeois planning office Jo Coenen & Co, in collaboration with the French and German landscape planning office Agence Ter. Both firms were selected following a peer review process in which six international teams participated.

This master plan envisages a colourful mixture of housing, offices, retail, and service establishments such as hotels and leisure facilities. At its core is the closer dovetailing of water, green spaces, trees, and footpaths. The concept thus grapples with the special natural and urban features of this, the largest inhabited river island in Europe, emphasising such characteristics and giving new impetus to the image of Wilhelmsburg’s landscape.

From the Drawing Board to Reality

A vibrant neighbourhood has grown on this site measuring some 30 hectares. Cooperation between the International Building Exhibition Hamburg and the International Garden Show igs 2013 in Wilhelmsburg Central matched town planning with open space planning to produce a new neighbourhood.

The pivot of the district is the area around the main entrance to Wilhelmsburg Island Park. In addition to attractive open spaces with promenades and stretches of water, some ambitious buildings were constructed for a huge variety of uses. Apartment blocks and buildings for events, sports facilities, a medical centre and a senior citizens’ centre all contribute to the vibrant mix. And next door, one of Hamburg’s major ministries has its new office building. Moving the Ministry for Urban Development and the Environment to this new site is an added boost to the district and a clear sign of commitment to the leap across the Elbe.

In “The Building Exhibition within the Building Exhibition”, the IBA Hamburg is aiming to spotlight  the theme of housing construction within Wilhelmsburg Central, which is being addressed through various projects. Four different housing types ambitiously demonstrate the future of housing, featuring everything from Hybrid Houses to Smart Materials. Both the residents of the new houses and visitors will be able to access the district via a new footbridge from the revamped Wilhelmsburg Urban Railway Station.

Boosting Development

The many construction projects taking place in the new centre mark the first major step towards the development of Wilhelmsburg. Another will be taken when Wilhelmsburger Reichsstrasse is diverted to the east, so that it runs alongside the railway track. This key measure will open up a broad corridor running north from the geographical centre of the Elbe islands towards the Spreehafen, allowing for the future development of the district and potential space for several thousands of new homes. This represents a unique opportunity for the district to consolidate itself in a sustainable way.

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Approx. 115.000 square metres of gross floor area will be erected by 2013

Dwelling: approx. 30.000 square metres

Trade, industry and service providers: approx. 75.000 square metres

Sport: ca. 10.000 square metres



Masterplan Competition
Jo Coenen & Co. Architects, Maastricht, Niederlande zusammen mit agence ter Landschaftsarchitekten, Karlsruhe

Masterplan Realization
Rolo Fütterer, Metroplolitan Architecture Research Studio, Esch-Sur-Alzette, Luxemburg mit agence ter Landschaftsarchitekten, Karlsruhe


Masterplan Competition
Jo Coenen & Co. Architects, Maastricht, Niederlande with agence ter Landschaftsarchitekten, Karlsruhe

Masterplan Realization
Rolo Fütterer, Metroplolitan Architecture Research Studio, Esch-Sur-Alzette, Luxemburg mit agence ter Landschaftsarchitekten, Karlsruhe


Bäderland Hamburg GmbH; Behrendt Wohnungsbau KG (GmbH & Co.), Hamburg; Benno und Inge Behrens-Stiftung, Hamburg; Deutsche Immobilien AG, Hamburg; Engel & Völkers Development GmbH, Hamburg; Hamburg Energie; Hamburg Team Gesellschaft für Projektentwicklung mbH; HochTief Solutions AG formart, Hamburg; IIB Inselpark Immobilienbesitz GmbH Co. KG I-III, Hamburg; KerVita Wilhelmsburg GmbH & Co. KG, Hamburg; Realgreen Development, Stuttgart; Patrizia Immobilien AG, Augsburg; Primus Development, Hamburg; Wernst Immobilien, Hamburg; Wohnbau & Projektentwicklung Hamburg GmbH; Schutzgemeinschaft Deutscher Wald, Hamburg; Otto Wulff Bauunternehmung GmbH, Hamburg; SchwörerHaus KG, Hohenstein/Oberstetten; Sprinkenhof AG, Hamburg; Strategic Science Consult GmbH, Hamburg