The Überseequartier is the centrepiece of the larger waterfront redevelopment area Hafencity in Hamburg. It unites a mix of functions such as culture, leisure, retail, restaurants, hotels, services, housing, offices, a cruise ship terminal, a science center with aquarium and a science theatre on a total area of 275,000 m2. The location of the Überseequartier within the 155 hectare area of the Hafencity is crucial, as it connects the inner city with the Elbe river. In this position it plays a central role in revitalising the former harbour area in the city centre of Hamburg.
The urban scheme combines buildings and landscape, with the Überseeboulevard as a prominent element. As a connecting passage to and from the existing city centre, the boulevard meanders through the area and culminates in the main square of the quarter, the Überseeplatz. Situated alongside the waterfront, the square is a point of arrival as well as a central viewpoint.
The masterplan scheme was designed by an international team: Dutch architects Erick van Egeraat and Rem Koolhaas, German architects Netzwerkarchitekten and NPS Tchoban Voss, BDP Architects from the United Kingdom and the German landscape architects Wes & Partner.
The overall urban concept for the Überseequartier was awarded first prize in a competition in 2005. Based on this concept, 10 internationally operating architects were selected to fill in the different plots. Erick van Egeraat’s building designs within the development include the Waterfront Towers and the mixed-use SPV 1-4 building.
Enclosing the Überseeplatz adjacent to the river are the two Waterfront Towers. The towers are positioned to define the urban space towards the water. They utilise the urban landscape and integrate it in the public functions of cafés, restaurants and commercial facilities located on the ground and first floor.The towers are composed of two main elements: plinth and tower. The plinths form a clear visual end point of the Überseeboulevard and offer magnificent views of the river and the cruise ships. The towers emerge from the plinths like two rocks from the water. They frame the views to and from the Überseequartier and become landmarks for the entire area.