A tower was not anticipated in the competition programme, but the jury agreed that a tower anchors the public functions around the only remaining historical building to survive between the megablocks of the "Overseas Quarter" masterplan.
The historic building will also be more autonomous. Slenderness is essential for a campanile. Over the course of its 8-year gestation this was respected - even while its function mutated from stacked restaurants to housing. The 13x16 m floor plan tapers towards the top. With a height of 56 meters the tower is 4-times higher than it is wide.
How can such a thin chap be efficient? The efficient answer is duplex apartments. Originally the concept foresaw seven apartments, each on 2 floors, a panoramic living deck on the upper level and bedrooms with punched windows below. Precise market analysis led to a variation of this formula: one triplex apartment at the top and some 1-floor apartments at lower levels. Built were ten apartments, four with 130 sqm, five with 185 sqm and one with 300 sqm. The tower has a gross floor area of 4300 sqm and a volume of 16.000 cubic metres.
At the ground level, the piazza level is a commercial area of around 300 sqm.
Strict high-rise regulations demanded an escape route from every floor via secured escape stair. The possibility to clean every window from the inside was also a criterion to be met. The spectacular view of the New Elbphilharmonie should not be blurred by dirty windows. Room-high windows on three sides of the living room also allow the tracking of incoming cruise ships.
Facade panels of anodized aluminium sheets in different gradations of dark red correspond to the patchwork of Bolles+Wilson's pavilion from 2008. This was the first realized component of the Harbour Masters ensemble. In sunlight these aluminium panels take on colourful nuances while on cloudy days they assume a darker, more serious Paul-Klee like appearance.
This is a building that changes its character according to the incidence of light, a new figure on Hamburg's skyline.
Photo credits: Christian Richters, Mitja Schneehage, Cordelia Ewert