High above and deep down below

High above and deep down below 2500 1667 Südliches Überseequartier

One day – four construction sites: On May 26 2019 the four biggest building sites in HafenCity opened their gates to visitors. More than 1,000 people took the opportunity to peek behind the site fences and look deep into the construction pits on Strandkai and Westfield Hamburg-Überseequartier site as well as the building sites for the Quarter of Generations and Amerigo-Vespucci-Square at Baakenhafen.

While the public event began at 10 a.m., the info pavilion for Westfield Hamburg-Überseequartier was already open to residents by 9 a.m. “Our immediate neighbours have to put up with quite a bit because of our construction site, and so we thought they deserved a special tour. We invited them for breakfast and went on the first tours together,” said Jacques Boursault, Head of Construction at Westfield Hamburg-Überseequartier and thus in charge of the impressive construction site between San-Francisco-Street and Osakaallee, Überseeallee and the River Elbe. He brought his wife and son along so that they could experience his workplace up close.

Breakfast at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (Image credit: URW)

Forty-five residents followed the invitation and got first-hand knowledge while they enjoyed sandwiches and croissants. With the help of a construction model, floor plans and visualisations, the Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield team, clad in high-visibility jackets, gave an insight into the future of the 67,000 m² plot. “Westfield Hamburg-Überseequartier and Hamburg – a perfect match, like bread and Nutella”, as the small Nutella jars proclaimed.

During a total of 17 tours in the red double-deckers with several hundred guests throughout the day, it became absolutely clear that something amazing is taking shape here. A specially developed app for private smartphones and the tablets provided transformed the future into virtual reality at three stops. Suddenly the stunning high-rise by French star architect Christian de Portzamparc emerged at Magdeburger Hafen; Überseeboulevard, with its breathtaking glass roofs by Werner Sobek Group based in Stuttgart, could be seen on the right. The contrast between the up to 14-metre deep construction site with its highly complex procedures and the vibrant street scenes in virtual reality was striking. What is being achieved here was clear to all – and for some it fostered understanding for the disruption caused by the building site. One resident summed it up as she said goodbye: “One day it’s going to be over and then we’ll be able to enjoy the lively neighbourhood.”

Lively exchanges and a cheerful atmosphere during the Sunday breakfast (Image credit: URW)
A large crowd waiting to board the red double-deckers (Image credit: URW)
Everyone was sitting on the right of the red double-deckers’ top deck for an impressive view of the construction pit (Image credit: URW)
A look into the future – virtual reality makes it possible (Image credit: URW)