Kaufhauskanal Metrozone / BIG + Topotek1

Architects: BIG Architects
Landscape Architects: Topotek1
Location: Hamburg,
Partner in Charge: Bjarke Ingels
Project Leader: Ole Schrøder
Collaborators: Mitarbeiter – Kai-Uwe Bergmann, Oana Simionescu, Christian Alvarez Gomez, Alex Cozma, Karsten Hammer Hansen, Todd Bennett, Gabrielle Nadeau, Frederik Lyng, Ole Storjohann, Hanna Johansson, Sebastian Latz
Topotek1 team: Martin Rein-Cano, Lorenz Dexler, Anna Lundquist, Christian Bohne, Lisa Oregioni, Alexandre Mellier, Danielle Choi, Karoline Liedtke
Client: IBA Hamburg
Project year: 2013
Constructed Area: 33,350 sqm

The IBA Hamburg is a building exhibition which is running in Hamburg until 2013 and has as its mission to develop solutions for the future of the metropolis. One in a long line of building exhibitions held throughout Germany which also included the 1927 Weißenhofsiedlung in Stuttgart which showed the latest developments in architecture and house construction. All building exhibitions to date have had one thing in common: they generated ideas on shaping the future of urban life.

In this tradition the Kaufhauskanal housing scheme provides 80 residential units, which introduce living into this former industrial area of Hamburg. The typology for the overall plan for the Kaufhauskanal Metrozone is designed as a series of new “Kaufhaus Hybrids”". The scheme is meant to accommodate the existing quarter so that all the new buildings slopes downward and outward to meet the heights of the existing buildings. The roofs are angled and inclined to maximize views to the sky and at the same time minimize the noise from the surrounding streets, roads and railway. Our proposal for the Kaufhauskanal provides a new framework to create an urban geography where the best elements from both the old and new areas will be incorporated.

Bjarke Ingels, Partner-in-Charge

“Our Kaufhauskanal vision proposes a neighbourhood where you can have both – both city and nature, both open and urban, both history and future, both identity and diversity, both work and play.”

The warped framework creates a layout that is varied and unique without impacting movement through its open space. The warped parcel structure provides the basic framework for the future planning of the Kaufhauskanal. The resulting urban experience fluctuates between variation and continuity. In order to respect and engage the existing buildings and outdoor spaces, we propose to proportion the urban scale to match the adjacent properties. Along the Kaufhauskanal scheme’s periphery it assumes the scale and height of that neighboring property: from the postmodern office blocks to the old pitched roofed buildings.

Jörg-Heinrich Penner, Harburg’s Department Head for Economy, Building and Environment

“Harburg’s docklands and its eclectic mix of buildings and their uses are entirely unique. That is why a BIG + Topotek 1′s scheme whose form is quite untraditional can actually fit in here and succeed here. I am quite sure that their strong yet thought through forms and open spaces will quickly locate both investors and soon to be residents.

Cite: Saieh, Nico. "Kaufhauskanal Metrozone / BIG + Topotek1" 06 May 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=21328>
  • Bo Lucky

    Nobody wants to start here? Well… please let the project stay in the model/diagram format…

  • Hello

    why do you want it to stay in the model/diagram format?

  • http://www.soulofautumn87.deviantart.com Vladimir Konovalov

    I like the fresh air that this project brings to the site.

  • arch critic

    it looks good in the dark…lol

  • dustin

    I could have sworn it was another ordos project

  • Peter

    I feel the street level environment is great. Maybe the lack of variation in form shows a slight insensitivity to site…but maybe the generic is exactly what’s needed.

    I love the series of courtyards created…a diversity and subtle lack of expectation in planning is an essential characteristic lacking in most hyper formalized, overly descriptive architecture.

    I have to say… I think the shape of a building is very often it’s least important characteristic…but often the only one we get hung up on.

  • http://zum.arquitectos.eu José

    very nice.

  • bolongo

    exactly my thought dustin ;)

  • http://www.pixelcube.fr Strasbourg

    Too much, too big for repeating the same shape over again. They should find a way to variate.

  • Henry

    It´s a esquizofrenical space ….
    for an esquizofrenical society ?

    Please got to see the Graz architecture !
    And learn of grazer xchule !

  • Spuciellamento

    always the same ‘BIG’(s) crap! lol

  • Tania

    I always love project by BIG and the way they make models

  • John Avlakiotis

    I find this inspiring. I feel that the scale is right and it will look more ‘down to earth’ when actually built.

  • Spuciellamento

    BIG projects look often the same and are free from any critical aspect…By looking the floorplans, any quality dosen’t emerge. The volumes are not so appealing …probably, by defining variations of materialization they could create a more interesting environment …
    How they figured out the public spaces is a bit more newsworthy.

  • sd

    I think it’s awesome – exciting formally, but still sensitive to human-scale. I’d much rather see an Ordos-looking project in an actual city with public spaces involved.

  • http://architekturblog.wordpress.com/ evap

    cool assembly and shape – I’m curious about the result…

  • Guido

    “The roofs are angled and inclined to maximize views to the sky and at the same time minimize the noise from the surrounding streets, roads and railway”. Impractical use of the space for the final purpose.

  • George

    I believe I am seeing some HDR effects on those street level model shots – that’s a nice touch…

  • http://theartofwhere.blogspot.com/ archaalto

    since this project could potentially be sponsored by local government, the schemes naturally do not have as much “variety” that everyone seems to be detesting. but there is something to discuss here regarding the design which appears to address an economy of means. the hyper-rational solutions of sun, public space, and noise reduction result in the subtly varying forms & one construction type. this seems like a very minimal approach which says: “tread as lightly as possible”, and the people can fill in the rest.

    why should every architectural project have the artist’s stamp on it?

    this proposal could definitely use some more exploration of the ground plane in the residential units, but other than that it is a solid critique on how people can live in the city.

  • ol
  • Mr. Cheap

    Hehe, Bjarke Ingels defines modernism : “Our Kaufhauskanal vision proposes a neighbourhood where you can have both – both city and nature, both open and urban, both history and future, both identity and diversity, both work and play.”

  • 2Sense

    This project is forgetting for whom we are creating these spaces. Its all about the spaces, be it direct or indirect space creation. If the Human Soul refuses to be to occupy this space then we have created a Dead Space. I find these spaces cold….leaning toward the dead.

  • Pingback: Kaufhauskanal Metrozone by BIG and Topotek1 @ Dailytonic

  • roy

    Vladimir Konovalov says:May 6th, 2009 I like the fresh air that this project brings to the site.
    I think so…
    It`s so comfortable i feel…

  • Joel

    Bjark, or how to turn from hype to boring

  • http://www.grazonline.at Martin Hemmer

    I found your blog by chance . but i have to say that it’s great blog very useful information and very interesting subjects just greetings and good luck
    i’m not going i will be always checking for updates.by the way Graz is a very lovely city I enjoyed it so much.

  • Tosh

    Try to imagine what it is to be in one of these buildings ;) that’s the only comment.. it’s easy to shape cities like that if you don’t have to live in these buildings.. or work in them.. because they thought about the space outside (though not enough) but they really don’t care about these buildings.. the way they just put some sort of repetitive window lines on them – making them like zebras or any other animal- does not show thoughtfullness..