The rendering shows a vision for the Elbtower in Hamburg

A 200 meter tall skyscraper is plannend at the eastern end of the Hafencity district, according to an announcement the city made today. In a way, this is old news: the Hafencity masterplan had always specified a building of 150 meters height at this spot. The news is that now that planning is advancing, they’ve raised the height to 200 meters. The name “Elbtower” (referring to the river Elbe) is a project name and not the final name for the building.

The building will be built by a private developer, but I am a bit puzzled by the price tag of “up to 1 billion Euros” that the city demands to be invested. That is about the amount that went into the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which is currently the world’s tallest building at 828 meters. Sure, labor costs in Germany are higher among other factors, but this still seems unreasonably high to me. Still, I do think that it’s good that the city sets the bar high for this development. That ensures that the result will indeed be of high quality and we won’t get a non-descript glass box at this highly visible location.

Reading the media coverage on the annoucement is entertaining. The “Spiegel” for instance (based in Hamburg) calls the building “gigantic” in their article’s headline. Guys, it’s a 200 meter building. That’s gigantic only from Hamburg’s small town mindset.

The design shown today is just a vision, an architectural competition will be held at a later date. To me, this design looks quite nice however and not as silly as the various visions we’ve seen for this plot before.