When it comes to architecture in Hamburg, the first thing that comes to many people’s minds is one of the largest building projects in the Hansa district: The Elbe Philharmonic Hall. But architecture enthusiasts around the world also understand that Hamburg has a lot more to offer. We would like to introduce you to some of the most impressive buildings in Hamburg, as well as some fascinating stories behind Hamburg’s architecture.
Start off in the City Center
The Hamburg Rathaus (City Hall) is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city center. The building was constructed in 1987 in the Neo-Renaissance style. Today it is one of the defining features of the city’s skyline, a monument frequently photographed by visitors to the city. One particular detail stands out: The 20 kings and emperors positioned between the window niches of the city hall. On the central tower above them, the civic virtues of wisdom, harmony, fortitude and piety are depicted. In view of this design, it is evident that the free Hanseatic City of Hamburg historically valued civic freedom higher than loyalty to the emperor. It is also worth noting that this building, which spreads across an area of 7,840 m² had to be constructed on top of more than 4,000 oak posts due to the muddy ground underneath.
Another key element of Hamburg’s skyline is a tower, popularly known as the Tele-Michel. The official name of Hamburg’s television tower is actually the Heinrich Hertz Tower. Located in the St. Pauli district, this tower is the sixth-highest TV tower in Germany at 279.2 meters.
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Historic and modern – Hamburg’s water district
When you explore the waterfront architecture of Hamburg, there are two particularly impressive structures that are sure to catch your eye. The Elbe Philharmonic Hall, under construction since 2007, has often made headlines in recent years. Hamburg locals are fond of mocking it using the affectionate nickname “Elphi.” Another truly monumental structure is the Dockland. This office building shaped like a crooked parallelogram is located right alongside the Elbe in the Altona district. In this slanted building, even the elevators run diagonally.
The warehouse district known as the Speicherstadt, with its one-of-a-kind architecture, can also be explored by boat. This wide area on the Elbe is the largest warehouse complex in the world constructed on a foundation of oak posts. All six canals in the warehouse district have been given beautiful names: Just consider “Come-Back Canal” (Kehrwiederfleet) or “St. Anne’s Canal”(St. Annenfleet). The warehouse itself has characteristic red brick façades and most of it is now used as offices. Tourists love to photograph the highlights of the district, such as the Canal Castle on the Holländischbrookfleet Canal or Harbor Police Station No. 2 at the end of Kehrwiederfleet Canal.
After exploring the Speicherstadt, a tour of the neighboring Hafen City is a real must for architecture enthusiasts. A futuristic architectural style dominates in this district, entirely surrounded by rivers and canals. Familiar landmarks from this area include glass buildings such as the Unilever headquarters or nested towers like the Marco Polo Tower.
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Number 1 on the Reeperbahn…
An evening detour to the Reeperbahn is a great idea if you enjoy skyscrapers. Just after entering this famous nightlife district, visitors are greeted by the so-called Tanzende Türme. These two skyscrapers at the Reeperbahn were constructed in 2012. They are also the creations of Hamburg architect Hadi Teherani. In addition to offices, these buildings also house a radio station and the notorious Mojo Club. By night, the Dancing Towers are lit up, helping many wobbling Reeperbahn visitors find their way home.
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Even just visiting Villa E96 is enough to make some visitors feel drunk. Nothing about this house is ordinary. The façades seem like something lifted from a crazy dream, while the building’s interior spaces evoke a high-tech baroque style. This unusual villa is located by the Elbe in the Altona district. It can actually be rented out for any occasion.
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Our next architecture highlight also has rooms available for you to stay in. The Radisson Blu Hotel in Hamburg is the largest and tallest hotel in the city. Situated directly near the Dammtor train station and the Planten un Blomen botanical gardens, the hotel makes an ideal home base for exploring the city. And that’s not all: This 4-star hotel also offers a spa and sun deck, as well as a wide selection of pillows to make sure you get a good night’s sleep.
Did you like this article? In the second part of “Hamburg for Architecture Enthusiasts” we will introduce you to even more architectural highlights of the city.