Am Lohsepark: Central Green Urban District Replaces Industrial Pioneers

An historic industrial and railroad site makes way for a family-oriented residential neighborhood clustered around Lohsepark, HafenCity’s largest green space

Large parts of Lohsepark are already accessible, but the park will be fully opened to all residents and visitors from July 2016. Photo shows the baseball court, already open, with HCU in the background (© Thomas Hampel)

Am Lohsepark is an attractive urban space emerging in central Hafen-City – at its heart its green core, Lohsepark. Since all of the buildings adjoin the green space to the west and east, this continues Hamburg’s town planning tradition of planting large parks amid residential and working neighborhoods. Development of the neighborhood started from the partially listed red-brick ensemble between Lohseplatz and Shanghaiallee, whose residents include the Prototyp private collection of automobiles and the non-profit DO School. This beautifully renovated architectural gem was once the corporate headquarters of Harburger Gummi-Kamm-Compagnie, a pioneer of Hamburg industrialization. The look of this quarter will be dominated by closed blocks of five to seven story buildings grouped around the park. Since June 2014, it has been directly connected to Brooktorhafen in the north by the newly renovated Ericus bridge – a railroad swing bridge built in 1870.

FAMILY HOMES ON THE PARK

The residential theme is taking on increasingly concrete form here at Lohsepark. At the end of 2015, the first of three buildings, each comprising around 20,000 gross floor area (GFA), on the park between Steinschanze in the north, Überseeallee in the south, and Shanghaiallee in the west, was completed. The three form part of an urban area consisting of nearly 500 apartments (for rental, publicly subsidized, building venture and privately owned), as well as student accommodation and a hotel. On the 5,000 sqm northern plot (70), the building complex being developed by Baugenossenschaft Bergedorf-Bille eG, KOS Wulff Immobilien GmbH and Otto Wulff Projektentwicklung GmbH, there is a mix of offices, health services and commercial space as well as social services, kindergartens and 159 housing units, some of which are publicly subsidized. These include the first inclusive household community in HafenCity in which 19 people with disabilities and ten students live under one roof in seven shared apartments. On the ground floor on Shanghaiallee, Germany’s youngest three-star chef Kevin Fehling runs his top restaurant “the Table”. Almost next door are the facilities of pme Familienservice GmbH.

At the same time construction of the residential building on the southern plot (71) next door is going well. The ensemble, designed by architects Dinse Feest Zurl (Hamburg), Springer (Berlin) and Siebrecht Münzesheimer/BOF (Hamburg), is being built by a joint building venture consortium consisting of 70 parties (Dock 71) and managed by Stattbau Hamburg and Conplan GmbH, with Behrendt Wohneigentum GmbH and building cooperative Hamburger Wohnen. It is made up of privately owned apartments, subsidized rental homes, with commercial ground-floor uses and a kindergarten. Special to this project are its roof-top landscape with terraces, garden houses, glasshouses and viewing points, as well as the planted interior courtyard intended as an area for relaxation and social encounter. The building joint venture’s northern building complex should be completed in 2016, while construction of the southern section is under way. Completion is planned for 2017.

The adjoining site to the south is being developed by a consortium of ECE, Harmonia Immobilien GmbH and the Hamburg student union into a mix of uses consisting of a hotel, publicly subsidized student accommodation (125 apartments) and privately financed homes (45 high-quality units), accounting for a total 21,000 sqm GFA. The residential parts are designed by KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten (Brunswick); the hotel element was conceived by Kister Scheithauer Gross Architekten und Stadtplaner (Cologne). Construction begins in mid-2016.

The former customs office site (66), one of the few not owned by Hamburg’s special fund for port and city assets, offers around 9,000 sqm GFA for a mix of uses. In addition not only are more residential units planned to round off the block containing the Prototyp automobile museum, but a variety of uses (74-76) are also planned to the east of the park. Possible is a highly diversified use with office space, residences and a cultural element.

Since July 2015, a small portion of the area to the north has been dedicated as a new location for the highly popular temporary HafenCity soccer pitch. A group of enthusiasts rolled up their sleeves and got to work – with support from HafenCity Hamburg GmbH, the St. Katharinen parish and Spielhaus HafenCity e.V., – and laid out an artificial turf field with additional areas for locals’ activities. 2016/2017 will see the architectural competition for a new educational center with gymnasium and comprehensive schools.

HAFEN CITY’S LARGEST PARK

Based on the principles of the urban development Masterplan, Lohsepark, whose open space concept was designed by Vogt Landschaftsarchitekten AG (Zurich), is the largest contiguous park in HafenCity in the tradition of Hamburg’s existing Volkspark. Covering 4.4 ha, it will incorporate a variety of urban, social and ecological functions.

Framed by an unobstructed visual axis from Ericusspitze to Baakenhafen, the 80 m-wide park stretches 600 m in length like a wide green ribbon from waterside to waterside. Its generous sweeps of grass crisscrossed by a loose network of paths, seating and play areas are interspersed with more than 530 trees, provide relaxing surroundings.

Construction of Lohsepark is proceeding quickly. While the park has looked pretty green in the north and south since 2013, large parts of the central area were opened to the public to coincide with the HSH Nordbank Run in HafenCity in 2015, including play areas for children, a stone grotto and a street basketball court. In contrast to this urban scene, the park will show its softer side at its northern limits on the embankment of Ericusgraben canal: an underwater sheet pile wall provides the conditions for a gently inclining thicket of herbage, shrubs, reeds and rushes. At the same time, trees are gradually being planted in the central section of the park so that as soon as the last of the earthworks are completed and the grass areas have grown, the official opening can take place in July 2016.

PARK CENTERED ON MEMORIAL

The area in Lohsepark now approaching completion was once the site of parts of Hanover Railroad Station. Between 1940 and 1945 at least 7,692 people – Jews, Sinti and Roma – were deported from here. In Lohsepark, a place of remembrance of this dark chapter of Hamburg history is being created, a memorial “denk.mal Hannoverscher Bahnhof”, made up of three elements. In addition to the central place of remembrance, the listed remains of Platform 2 connecting with the park to the east, this includes the so-called “seam” that traces the route of the historic rail tracks from the former station forecourt, through the park to the platform as well as a documentation center yet to be built, which will have a direct visual connection to the historic memorial on the western side of the park, on Steinschanze street.

The new seven-story building, to designs by Wandel Lorch Architekten (Frankfurt/Saabrücken), comprising around 6,100 GFA, will offer around 700 sqm of space at ground floor level for exhibitions and events. The core element will be a permanent exhibition about the fate of deportees from north Germany and Hamburg, based on the temporary exhibit conceived by Dr Linda Apel, entitled “Sent to their Deaths”. This has been shown in reduced form in the Hanover Railroad Station InfoPavilion since September 2013. The exhibition will be reworked and revised and subsequently run by the management of Neuengamme Concentration Camp. The “seam” will be opened to the public in July 2016; the central memorial will be completed in spring 2017.

BUSINESSES COMPLETE THE URBAN PICTURE

Another ingredient in the vitality of Lohsepark’s mix of green space and residential areas – as throughout HafenCity – will be the influence of business on local life. On the corner of Shanghaiallee/Koreastrasse the Hamburg oil company Marquard & Bahls is completing its new corporate headquarters. Offering around 18,000 sqm GFA, the building (65) will be ready to welcome 700 employees to their workplaces in spring 2016. Retailers and catering uses occupy the ground floor. The building has an unusual three-story urban balcony along Brooktorhafen embankment which links the interior atrium with the surroundings. Planning of this conspicuous newbuild is by Gewers & Pudewill (Berlin). Along with offices for company executives and others, the seventh story houses a spacious fitness area for all employees inhouse. An underground garage over two levels also provides parking for numerous bicycles; the area also provides showers and changing rooms for coworkers. A charging station for e-bikes has also been installed. Another special feature is the exterior elevator, which can carry up to 20 people from the ground floor direct to the house jetty on Brooktorhafen dock.

As more companies move in, Brooktorhafen is developing into an attractive place to work, peppered with businesses of differing sizes, benefiting from their vicinity to such corporate neighbors as Gebr.Heinemann, Spiegel publishing or DNV Germanischer Lloyd in surrounding quarters.

Structural alteration works will be finalized by fall 2016, but Shanghaiallee, with its broad sidewalks and comparatively busy traffic volume, already has the character of an attractive urban street for business or residents. It was built at an early stage of HafenCity’s development as a flood-secure axis running through the center from the Speicherstadt in the north to HafenCity University on Überseeallee in the south. The big-city boulevard feel is generated by the completed NIDUS, Ecumenical Forum and Musicians’ House buildings on the other side in Elbtorquartier, as well as the Prototyp automobile museum and the first large residential block to be ready on Lohsepark. Over the coming months and years, as additional buildings are developed, more shops and other public amenities will open in ground floors, adding to the area’s urban character.