Hamburg Builds for a Future of Higher Seas


Hamburg’s transition from being seen as only an industrial port to a thriving cultural hub is well underway and part of that transition is to ensure the city can survive climate change. Since the city is located not far from the coast rising water and more sever storms will impact everyone who lives there, as a result flood mitigation and resilient building are required. These new developments embrace ecological design while also embracing the culture of the city.

Presented by its developers as a “model for the new European city on the waterfront”, HafenCity is built on an artificial sand terrace that places new buildings about 8 meters above the high tide line. The waterfront is also designed to be partially flooded, like the promenade designed by Zaha Hadid in 2006 that runs above the dam on the city’s Niederhafen promenade.

Exceptions are some old buildings dating back to 1880. While remaining at their original lower level, they have been hardened to resist occasional flooding, with direct exits to the upper level and reinforced windows and other forms of waterproofing beneath.

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Algae-Powered Building Opens This Week

Algae can be used for all sorts of wonderful things from cleaning up oil to producing energy. Architects in Hamburg have built a building that uses algae to power the complex and it opens this week. The building is meant to be a demonstration of cutting-edge sustainable architecture.

“Using bio-chemical processes in the façade of a building to create shade and energy is a really innovative concept.” says Arup’s research lead for Europe, Jan Wurm. “It might well become a sustainable solution for energy production in urban areas, so it is great to see it being tested in a real-life scenario.”

Arup led the design project, which also included work by Splitterwerks Architects from Austria and Germany’s SSC Strategic Scientific Consult. It was funded by the German government’s “Zukunft Bau” (“Future Construction”) subsidy, which looks to support innovation in the construction industry when it comes to renewable and zero-energy design.

The BIQ building itself contains 15 apartments, of which two apparently don’t have rigid interior layouts. Instead, the “individual functions of the apartment — bathroom, kitchen, sleeping area — can be swapped about or combined to form a ‘neutral zone’” by residents as and when they need to. According to the International Building Exhibition, an “increased demand for adaptable housing spaces” means this is how we’re going to live in the future.

Read more at Wired.

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