The Marco Polo Tower in Hamburg, to plans by Behnisch Architekten in liaison with DC Residential and Hochtief, carried off first prize at the Cannes MIPIM Awards 2010 as the world-best housing project in the “Residential Developments” category.
A feather in the cap of the Stuttgart firm for a project at the cutting edge of sustainability and technology; it forms part of Hamburg’s HafenCity urban development scheme, the biggest upgrade operation in Europe adding 40% to the present city area with its 155 hectares of reclaimed land.
The tower is a new landmark in the area, midway between the town centre and the new cruise terminal. It stands near the esplanade along the Strandkai, on the banks of the Elbe and beside the new Unilever headquarters - another Behnisch brainchild. With its 17 storeys soaring 55 metres high, on a sunny day the Marco Polo Tower can be seen in all its sculptural plasticity from all around, a companion-piece to the Elbphilarmonie (designed by Herzog & de Meuron) and the Science Center.
The building contains 58 residential apartments of varying sizes (from 57 to 340 sq m) and prices, according to the floor on which they stand. They are being sold unfinished so that the owners can personalize their own final fittings. The ground floor is designed to accommodate 650 sq m
of shops and restaurant/refreshment facilities.
What with residential and commercial properties, three-quarters of the total has been sold.
The feature of spacious balconies and terraces means that indoors premises extend naturally into the open air. Inwards, the landings serving each floor give onto the full height hallway, setting up a tension of contrasting shapes, straight lines and right-angles mingling with curvilinear forms.
This majestically sited building is served by the last word in sustainable technology. Special attention has been devoted to energy saving and avoiding dispersion: a state of the art envelope, plus solar panels on the roof with heat pumps and thermal insulation create a pleasantly conditioned internal atmosphere, assisted by mechanical ventilation and underfloor heating.