The See-Worthy Seaworthy Architecture of Hamburg

The See-Worthy Seaworthy Architecture of Hamburg
We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Architecturally speaking, there are a lot of sharp, dramatic angles in Hamburg.  This port city is known for its eclectic architecture and maritime industry and studies, so it's only natural that life (aka anything on water) imitates art (aka architecture) in Hamburg.  So, if you find yourself in Hamburg in front of one of these sleek, sea-inspired buildings, look for just the right spot to stand and take a picture of the building's "prow." All what's missing are Jack and Rose.

 

 

Comparisons of Hamburg's architecture to boats

 

 

Chilehaus (Fischertwiete 2)

The Chilehaus office building has to be Hamburg's most dramatically-angled building.  Completed in 1924, it is a fine example of 1920s Brick Expressionism architectural style and it shares its UNESCO World Heritage Site listing with the nearby Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus District.  According to the the building's surprisingly brief Wikipedia page, the Chilehaus ('chili house') was commissioned by the shipping magnate Henry B. Sloman, who made his fortune trading saltpeter from Chile.  (Apparently, it has one of the world's few remaining paternoster elevators.)

 

 

Speicherstadt & Kontorhaus District

As UNESCO notes, the Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus District "exemplifies the effects of the rapid growth in international trade in the late 19th and early 20th centuries."  Translating to mean "warehouses" and "port offices," these densely built urban islands in the Elbe River were developed between 1885 and 1927, and partially rebuilt after WWII. The speicherstadt warehouse district is one of the largest coherent historic ensembles of port warehouses in the world at 300,000 square meters and shares a UNESCO listing with the modernist Chilehaus.

 

 

Gruner + Jahr (Am Baumwall 11)

Something about the G+J building was very appealing to me, and I imagine it'd be fabulous to have an office in this building made of weathered wood and large windows that overlooks the Elbe river.  I couldn't find much information on the complex apart from the fact that it has served as headquarters for Europe's largest printing and publishing house, Gruner + Jahr, since 1990.  This article notes that the building resembles "four anchored ships," and this article points out G+J's imminent move and the university taking over the building.  Whatever the building's background, it's worth noting the petite, whimsical playground version of the building on the site.

 

 

Other noteworthy buildings

The circa 1874 Stellahaus port office (Rödingsmarkt 52) was one of Hamburg's first skyscrapers.  "Stella" is Latin for "star" and the building's plaster facade illustrates this connection to the shipping industry well.  North of this pastel expressionist building is the WWII-era Flaktürme (Feldstraße 66) air defense bunker.  Flaktürme means "wing towers" in German and the building has (rather appropriately) been turned into a ginormous music/instrument/recording venue.  Which is a good thing, because the bunkers were built to be indestructible.