City Topography

Waterside urban landscape in Brooktorkai and Ericusspitze

Its position at the interface with the Speicherstadt and city center gives Brooktorkai/Ericus neighborhood its special quality. The spacious ensemble of squares on Ericusspitze and the Shanghai bridge are a part of the attractive open spaces it has to offer

The illustration shows open spaces on the future Ericusspitze

One boulevard, two squares and a generous flight of steps: the area between and around the two striking office buildings on Ericusspitze will develop into an ensemble of exciting open spaces (© Marco A. Arellano HCH) Start slideshow

The character of this neighborhood, which is enclosed on three sides by narrow harbor basins and also borders the Speicherstadt, is strongly influenced by its closeness to water. So it is not surprising that one of its most dynamic open spaces is actually over the water. Almost as broad as it is long, Shanghai bridge is more like a square which also just happens to provide the means to cross Brooktor harbor. All of its load-bearing structures are concealed under the carriageways.

As well as four lanes for motorized traffic, there are sidewalks and cycling paths on each side, with perimeters set at a slightly lower level. These areas thus form two zones: in addition to the "promenade", the bridge also offers a "balcony" furnished with seating benches. Shanghai bridge, which was developed by architect Dietmar Fiechtinger and WTM engineers, was designated "Building of the year 2006" by the Hamburg architects and engineers association (AIV).

The AIV also designated as "Building of the year 2007" the Museum bridge designed by Feichtinger. This slim pedestrian crossing on Brooktor harbor leads directly into the public mall in the International Maritime Museum Hamburg in Kaispeicher B. The center of the bridge forms a 25° horizontal angle: had it run in a straight line, the bridge would have collided with a sluice entering the north side of the harbor basin. Architect Dietmar Feichtinger not only succeeded in finding a solution for this topographical peculiarity, he made a special feature out of it.

Design of larger open spaces on Brooktorkai and the Ericusspitze was commissioned from the Hamburg office of landscape architects WES & Partner. They were responsible for laying out the new quayside promenade on Brooktor harbor, to the south of the meandering Brooktorkai ensemble of buildings. This walkway also leads under Shanghai bridge.

Yet another outstanding open space ensemble is taking shape on the neighborhood’s eastern side. On Ericusspitze the entrances to the Spiegel publishing group’s headquarters and the Ericus-Contor office building share a forecourt on the Brooktorkai side. A wide boulevard, passing between the two buildings, leads to a second plaza to the southeast. There a flight of broad steps offers a place to stop awhile under the trees and enjoy the view across the waters of the Ericusgraben channel.

The open spaces in this neighborhood also play an important role as part of a pedestrian route connecting up surrounding areas. A route to the new International Maritime Museum Hamburg is being created via Ericusspitze, Brooktorkai and two pedestrian bridges near St. Annenplatz. Using this new public throughway and other urban spaces along the water’s edge in Elbtorquartier, pedestrians and cyclists can get down as far as the River Elbe without meeting a single car.