Directly on the Elbe, commanding a prominent position in the HafenCity, stands the Marco Polo Tower right beside the new Unilever headquarters, also by Behnisch Architekten. The 55 m high tower punctuates the end of the route from the inner city out to the new attractions, the Cruise Ship Terminal and the Promenade on Strandkai. In its form and arrangement, it is a unique and remarkable sculptured building, adding to Hamburg’s silhouette on the Elbe. Its 17 above ground levels, each turned a few degrees on their axis, allow all 58 apartments spectacular views over the harbour and the city.
Apartments are between 60 and 340 square metres in area. Generous perimeter terraces and balconies extend the living areas out into a soft play of lines, and lend the tower its distinctive image. A high degree of flexibility is offered with the possibility of increasing areas by connecting neighbouring apartments. External variations in appearance are reflected in the interiors, in that no level, or apartment, is quite like any other. Choices can range from two room apartments to large penthouses with maisonette characteristics. Load-bearing structural elements and necessary fixed services have all been reduced as much as possible, so that the residents themselves can decide where they want to sleep, cook, eat, bathe or relax. On entering the apartment one has an uninterrupted view over an open plan living room landscape, through generously sized glass panels, to the outside world and Hamburg’s roofscape.
The apartments are sold design-ready. Clients can design their new home, with the help of an interior architect, according to their own taste. The concept for residential spaces proposed by the Behnisch Architekten emphasizes natural light and views.
The Marco Polo Tower brings together high-class living accommodation and a holistic ecological building concept. The recessed façades are protected from direct sun by the overhanging terraces above so that additional sunshades are not necessary.
Vacuum collectors on the roof, using a heat exchanger, turn heat into a cooling system for the apartments. Innovative sound insulated air louvres in the sleeping areas make natural ventilation possible without increased noise pollution from outside.
Projektgesellschaft Marco Polo Tower GmbH & Co. KG
Behnisch Architekten, Stuttgart
2006, 1st prize