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Berliner Bogen

BRT Architekten

Straddling a canal, the Berliner Bogen office complex in Hamburg ingeniously makes available 32,000 sq.m of rentable space, the equivalent of some 1,200 work stations. Poised over the final stretch of a long canal as it enters the city centre, the building runs for about 140 metres supported by steel arches and struts on each side of the bank, and rises some 36 metres. It forms a connection between the canal and Anckelmannsplatz, an important road junction in south-east central Hamburg, so linking waterway and city.

The concept is that of a “house within a house”: the inner structure’s floors are suspended from the outer steel arches while an outer glazed skin encompasses the whole. The double skin design creates six trapeze-shaped winter gardens that also act as thermal buffers between the interior and exterior spaces. 

The first below-ground floor is given over to storage, plant and parking space for approximately 190 vehicles. Underneath this floor, a mixed waste water collection tank is linked to the Hamburg city sewage system. The arch construction sustains the main weight of the building so that the edges of the underground water collection tank are not subject to static loads. The symbolic water feature in pieces of recycled glass at the north city-side entrance recalls the canal theme on the other side of the building. In fact viewed from Anckelmannsplatz, the Berlin Bogen seems to rise out of the water. The old city sewage pump station has been replaced by a modern glazed cubic structure.

A large bridge leads to the luminous foyer. The main axis of the building giving access to the offices leads off from the atrium. At the end of this main axis, a terrace overlooks the canal. Eight trapeze-shaped transverse elements rise from the centre of the complex up to the outer structure. 

Four vertical communication blocks, each serving two units and located on the main axis, provide short, easy...

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