Augsburg, Germany

Greg Langley

Corporate Communications

PATRIZIA adds residential property to HafenCity

The architecture firms selected to help PATRIZIA develop two prime sites in the Hamburg HafenCity project have been announced.

A new residential area is developed in Hamburg

Many Germans are familiar with the Elbphilharmonie – the concert hall in Hamburg. To the city’s inhabitants, its nickname is the Elphi. It’s probably now the best-known building in the HafenCity area of Hamburg, not just to locals but also beyond the city. It is also Europe’s biggest urban development project. HafenCity measures approximately 157 hectare and stands on a former industrial site in the old docklands. Directly on the waterfront, it is evolving into a completely new district comprising ten different neighbourhoods. Each spans a variety of uses, from commerce to housing, the arts, leisure activities, tourism and retail.

In 2000, the Government of Hamburg passed a master plan for HafenCity, which was subsequently revisited, discussed from every angle and adapted until it became the 2010 Master Plan. The big difference with the new HafenCity plan: significantly more apartments. For example, in Baakenhafen and Elbbrücken the new master plan allows for 3000 additional flats. Overall, the total number of new apartments in HafenCity will now rise from 6500 to 7000 flats, some of which are being developed by PATRIZIA. PATRIZIA will oversee new flats in Baakenhafen, accounting for approximately 27,500 sq m (296,000 sq ft) of floor space. There will also be co-working offices and space for restaurants and cultural pursuits.

By avoiding owner-occupied flats and the 30-year transition to privately funded residential flats, we want to make a contribution to the rental housing market in Hamburg.

Simon Querndt, director of Real Estate Development in Hamburg, PATRIZIA

Let’s look at how this came to be. In 2017, PATRIZIA joined forces with a building cooperative called Hamburger Wohnen. Together, they submitted a so-called HafenCity conceptual bid to the city of Hamburg. There were two plots up for grabs, and 50 building companies and property developers made bids for the land. In December 2018, PATRIZIA won exclusive options on two areas of land in Baakenhafen in the east of HafenCity: Plot 84a and Plot 84b. The Baakenhafen neighbourhood offers a variety of housing and leisure activities. It is also particularly valued for its publicly funded residential properties for families, students, the elderly and people with care requirements.

In 2019, PATRIZIA and Hamburger Wohnen invited architectural firms to submit bids for the first round of work on two housing projects. In response, it received 20 different plans from a variety of international architectural offices. In September, a jury of representatives from HafenCity, the Hamburg authorities, PATRIZIA and Hamburger Wohnen selected the winners. These were unveiled at a press conference in HafenCity on 14 November.

Plot 84A | PATRIZIA:
DFZ Architects, Hamburg

Plot 84b | PATRIZIA:
Fletcher Priest Architects, London

The winners of the pitch were the Hamburg-based architects DFZ, which was awarded Plot 84a, and Fletcher Priest Architects, which is responsible for Plot 84b. Outlining their decision, the jury said that

  • “the design presented by DFZ not only takes the nature and character of the new and existing environment into account, it also creates a high-value complex of buildings with its own, independent identity and appeal in an attractive location by the water. The exactitude of the structures and the facades, the exquisite differentiation achieved by the choice of materials, the formation of the facades and the interpretation of different typologies result in a building concept that emanates self-confidence and creates identity, offering a place at the heart of HafenCity that offers a corresponding quality of living and residence, full of life and urban atmosphere.”
  • The jury described the winning entry for Plot 84b, the so-called PianoBau, as emphasising “the tradition of piano manufacturing in Hamburg, and its location adds character to the district and the transition between the bridges on the river Elbe and the district of Baakenhafen. The piano concept places emphasis on the cultural agenda and provides pointers for material selection: black/blue on the outside with white clinker bricks, wooden timbers on the inside. A piano house, a piano workshop, co-working facilities, a restaurant and a piano bar open up the PianoBau onto Liselotte von Rantzau Square, along Versmannstrasse and Versmann Quay, and inject life into the public area with a cultural programme for local residents and visitors.”

The project injects life into Hamburg and improves the housing situation.

Plot 84a | PATRIZIA

  • Sponsored housing, private residential units, terraced houses
  • Co-working areas and restaurants on the ground floor
  • The Loki Schmidt Foundation on the ground floor and lower level (‘Warft floor’)

Plot 84b | PATRIZIA

  • Sponsored housing, private residential units, micro flats, terraced houses
  • Arts, restaurants and office areas on the ground floor
  • “Taste” piano bar on the lower level (‘Warft floor’)


One thing that both architectural projects have in common is that this time, PATRIZIA did not adhere to the conventional three-thirds rule for Hamburg, which entails building one third owner-occupied flats, one third private residential flats and one third social housing. "By avoiding owner-occupied flats and the 30-year transition to privately funded residential flats, we want to make a contribution to the rental housing market in Hamburg", says Simon Querndt, director of Real Estate Development in Hamburg for PATRIZIA.

In so doing, PATRIZIA is not just adding an architectural and building highlight, but also injecting life into Hamburg and improving the housing situation.