Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) is pushing ahead with the development of the Speicherstadt historical warehouse district in Hamburg, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The former central engine room in Block M28a on Sandtorkai is being fully renovated and expanded with a new building. Construction work began in October.
The Speicherstadt historical warehouse district was built between 1883 and 1927 as the most cutting-edge logistics centre of its time anywhere in the world. The energy requirements of the continually expanding port and warehouse operations were correspondingly high. This energy was generated in the block comprising the boiler house and central engine room – centrally and independent of any public power supply. The historical central engine room in Block M28a on Sandtorkai is now being fully renovated and expanded with the newly built Block M29.
Architect Ulrike Rau, Project Manager at HHLA Immobilien, says: “The renovation and expansion of the former central engine room will create approximately 4,000 m2 of additional rental space whose historical ambience offers the perfect location for new uses. Future tenants have the opportunity to really bring this unique setting to life with innovative concepts that will be accessible to the public. We are looking forward to the challenge ahead and the revitalisation of this historically significant collection of buildings.”
Dr Anna Joss, Head of the Hamburg office for the protection of historical monuments: “Until today, there has been an unused area in the middle of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Speicherstadt, which is now being redeveloped with a new building carefully integrated into the historical context. From the basement to the top floor, an interesting ensemble of old and new is being created: in the future, the impressive historical foundations that support the new building will be discovered underground, and at the very top, the old building will surprise us with a filigree, wide-span roof construction.”
The central engine room was built during the first phase of construction of the Speicherstadt historical warehouse district. One-third of the building was completely destroyed during the war. This section is now set for reconstruction in accordance with new architectural plans. After a previous architectural competition and in partnership with the Hamburg Office for the protection of historical monuments, a design by architects BIWERMAU was selected. This not only fills in an empty site but also closes the gap between past and future. All listed elements will be renovated in accordance with preservation orders. Construction is due for completion by the end of 2024, after which time this significant ensemble will stand together once more in the Speicherstadt historical warehouse district after 80 years apart.
With an output of over 1,000 hp, the steam engines in the former central engine room pumped water through a 15-kilometre network of pipes in the Speicherstadt historical warehouse district. This powered the winches that pulled the goods up from the barges before lowering them down onto carts on the road after being processed in the warehouses. Electricity generated using steam dynamos was reliably supplied to the warehouse floors. By 1909, the output of the engines had tripled to 3,140 hp.
During the Second World War, the block was damaged so badly that the restoration of the central engine room was deemed unprofitable during the post-war years. The Speicherstadt historical warehouse district’s power was then changed to the decentralised supply provided by the public utility services. The boiler house was renovated by Hamburg architects gmp in 2000 as the first part of the ensemble. 80 years after its destruction, the complete renovation and the restoration of the central engine station has now begun.
As part of Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG, HHLA Real Estate is responsible for building management and district development. Founded in 1885 for the construction of Hamburg’s Speicherstadt historical warehouse district, HHLA manages the historically unique collection of clinker-brick buildings through its Real Estate segment. It has also expanded its portfolio to include the Hamburg Fish Market and a number of commercial and logistics properties around the port. The focus in the Speicherstadt is on careful structural change and the sustainable further development of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. HHLA’s intelligent management of the Speicherstadt has transformed it from what was once the biggest warehouse complex in the world into a vibrant urban district.
Further information can be found at www.hhla.de/speicherstadt.
Visualisation of the new building of the central machine station in the Speicherstadt historical warehouse district
Historical machine hall of the machine central station
Present view of the machine central station
Historic building ensemble - boiler house and central engine station