Reimagining Hamburg’s Skyline, a Trades Guild in the HafenCity

by Ece Comert (MArch '18), Benjamin Hayes (MArch '19), with contributions from Oorvi Sharma (MArch '18) on the initial urban design

Within the cultured framework of the Hanseatic city the guild headquarters endeavors to strengthen the tectonic and mercantile traditions of Hamburg’s past with a new and vibrant urban quarter and education common in the HafenCity. Studio visits to the neighboring Hanseatic cities of Stralsund, Lübeck and Wismar revealed the symbolic and imbedded tension of a power “tryptic” in shaping the civic gravitas and urban vitality of these medieval cities, which centered around the market square, Rathaus and church. Importing the tripartite tension to the site, the urban scheme proposes three distinct urban quarters, sculpting and shaping a new public square and backdrop for a proposed tower in the HafenCity. Somewhere between the sea and the sky, the tower’s sharp blade silhouette rises, piercing the low-lying horizontal datum of the Hamburg skyline, boldly placing itself into dialogue with the spires and peaks of Hamburg’s historical churches and the newly completed Elbphilharmonie.