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We build Hamburg

Hamburg, “Pearl of the North”: In surveys, the city on the River Elbe always belongs to the most beautiful and livable cities in Germany. The Hanseatic City is enjoying a record number of visitors, and international city tourism is booming. This has certainly been helped by the fact that Hamburg—with the help of HOCHTIEF—has for years been investing in infrastructure, and with numerous construction projects knows how to provide highlights: Hence, modern residential districts, musical theaters and the spectacular Elbe Philharmonic Hall improve the cityscape to bring out its best.

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The Elbe Philharmonic Hall


“Building of the Century”, “Most Popular City Landmark”, “Cultural Monument for Everyone”—any talk about the Elbe Philharmonic Hall involves superlatives.

The project at a glance:

  • Completion: January 2017
  • Architects: Herzog & de Meuron
  • Acoustics engineer: Yasuhisa Toyota
  • Artists: NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, Riccardo Muti, Cecilia Bartoli, Einstürzende Neubauten, Sir Simon Rattle
  • Scope: several concert halls, luxury hotel with 244 rooms, 45 condominiums, visitor plaza at a height of 37 meters, gastronomy, parking garage

Stunning Architecture

The “Elphi”, as Hamburg’s residents lovingly call the concert hall, is surrounded by the UNESCO world heritage “Speicherstadt” (warehouse city), the huge urban development project HafenCity and the industrial harbor areas.


The concert hall thrills Hamburg’s residents and visitors with its extraordinary architecture: A huge glass superstructure, reminiscent of a wave, rises up out of the former quayside warehouse. The teamwork of all companies involved was essential for realizing this unique and complex project.

HOCHTIEF used the BIM technology (Building Information Modeling) during construction of the Elbe Philharmonic Hall. In 2007, before construction began, the team created virtual 3D models of the building.

Where cocoa and coffee were previously stored, a 110-meter high concert hall with hotel, exclusive apartments, gastronomy and parking garage has been built. HOCHTIEF gutted the historic quayside warehouse and converted it into a noble cultural palace.


The renowned architects’ office Herzog & de Meuron had previously designed the spectacular building of the concert hall.


Glass and red brick—precisely this mix is typical for the combination of history and the will to rejuvenate in Hamburg’s architecture.

Enter the "Elphi" on the longest curved escalator in Europe and visit the impressive concert hall in flight. ©Hamburg Marketing GmbH.

“For the acoustics we had to seamlessly assemble 406 individually cut and milled oak wood elements. That was an extreme challenge, because the components weighed up to 300 kilos and were up to six meters long. It was worthwhile. Because everyone who enters this treasure trove wants to touch the walls.”

Karin Ross, site manager of the Recital Hall

Hamburg Harbor


Hamburg Harbor—“Germany’s Gateway to the World” – is not only one of Europe’s biggest seaports but also one of the biggest transshipment ports worldwide. The harbor infrastructure of the most important logistics location is therefore permanently being improved. HOCHTIEF has realized more than 20 projects in quay wall construction here. One of these is the container terminal Burchardkai, and another is the Rethe bridge.

The project at a glance:

  • Burchardkai
  • Rethebrücke


The construction of Burchardkai was the starting signal for a new era in the harbor. Because from 1968 it was possible for the first time to load and unload a full container ship, the “American Lancer”, in Hamburg.

©Udo Thomas

There, HOCHTIEF specialists built three berths for large container ships, and a quay wall with a total length of 1.5 kilometers.

Rethe Bridge

When two large ships passed through the river crossing of the Rethe bridge or if trains used the bridge up to 40 times a day, for drivers of vehicles this meant: Switch off the engine and wait. Now this is a thing of the past. Because the new Rethe bridge built by HOCHTIEF separates rail and road traffic.

The unique structure can proudly claim to be “Europe’s largest bascule bridge for combined road and rail traffic”.

Hamburg Musical Theaters


Mamma Mia! Together with New York and London, Hamburg ranks amongst the most important locations for musicals. This is above all thanks to the close proximity and large number of musical theaters in the harbor city, most of which were realized by HOCHTIEF. With more than 50 million people in the audiences since the beginning of the boom in the mid-1980s, this type of event has generated flourishing tourism—and there is no end in sight.

Projects at a glance:

  • 2001: Stage Theater im Hafen
  • 2014: Stage Theater an der Elbe
  • 2015: More! Theater am Großmarkt Hamburg

Entertainment made by HOCHTIEF

Some of the world’s most successful musicals are being staged in Hamburg’s theaters. HOCHTIEF converted or newly constructed the buildings for this.


Robert Nießen, project manager at HOCHTIEF, was involved in the biggest theater projects, and learned one thing in particular:

“Theater construction means responding to many different client’s change requirements—right until the end. Theater makers are creative people, and you have to respond to this creativity, because ultimately that is why the theater is being built!”


“Stage Theater im Hafen”

From the original old musical theater, only the striking tent character has remained. HOCHTIEF completely retrofitted the existing theater in record time. The “Lion King” has been staged here since 2001.


Robert Nießen remembers this first theater construction project of HOCHTIEF for the Musical Company Stage: “We were daring and crazy enough to be persuaded to build an almost new theater in eight months. But successfully. In the end our client was able to fully take advantage of Christmas business as planned.

This is how the provisional Buddy Holly arrangement became a permanent Hamburg institution - and HOCHTIEF became the preferred partner of STAGE.

“Stage Theater an der Elbe”

HOCHTIEF built the new theater on the site of an old shipyard, right next to the “Stage Theater im Hafen”.

With its striking silver skin, it already attracts the gaze of everyone on the other side of the River Elbe.

In November 2014, the new musical dome opened with “Das Wunder von Bern” (“The Miracle of Bern”).

“More! Theater am Großmarkt Hamburg”

This musical building located in the center of Hamburg has a great deal of charm. HOCHTIEF integrated the theater into a heritage-protected central market hall dating from the 1960s.


Robert Nießen and the team mastered many technical construction challenges during ongoing central market operations. For example, they were only allowed to bring all the necessary material into the theater with heritage status through the existing entrances—and without using a construction crane or heavy transportation equipment.

The New Hamburg Districts


Hamburg’s population is growing, but residential, living and working space is very limited. The solution: Obtaining space through new, creative ideas. Consequently, HOCHTIEF helped create new districts: in empty buildings, on disused sites and even on the water.

Projects at a glance:

  • Quartier21 (2013)
  • Water Houses (2013)
  • Hamburg Heights (2018)
  • Katharinenquartier (2015)



The old urban district of Wilhelmsburg didn’t have the best reputation. Now it has developed into a showpiece residential district.

Hamburg Heights

On the former “Spiegel-Insel” site in the Hamburg Altstadt district, HOCHTIEF refurbished and modernized the two heritage-protected high-rises of IBM and Spiegel. Under the name “Hamburg Heights”, new life was breathed into the two buildings dating from the 1960s, with offices and smart hotels. Two new buildings were also constructed.


The new Katharinenquartier district was built on the former, disused school grounds next to the Katharinenkirche church. In the central urban district Hamburg-Altstadt, HOCHTIEF realized three residential and commercial buildings. They provide space for 131 apartments, as well as offices, gastronomy and retailing.


Hamburg Airport Helmut Schmidt

©Reimo Schaaf

Hamburg’s Airport is Germany’s longest serving airport. It was set up in 1911 and today it is one of the most modern airports in Europe again. Thanks to a comprehensive expansion program by HOCHTIEF, it has become an engine of growth for the whole metropolitan region.

The project at a glance (1992 to 2014):

  • Two terminals
  • Airport Plaza,
  • Urban railway line
  • Parking garages

Keeping up with the Times

To make Hamburg’s Airport fit again for the future, it was restructured as a private enterprise after being state-owned for many years.

In 2001, HOCHTIEF became a private partner of the airport and kept its shares until 2014. The airport needed this partner for the biggest investment boost in its history.

©Reimo Schaaf

HOCHTIEF was crucially involved in expanding the airport: for instance, two terminals were built, as well as new parking garages, a hotel and the airport plaza. Since 2008, the almost four kilometer long urban railway tunnel has connected Hamburg’s Airport with the urban district of Ohlsdorf.


More Flood Protection for Hamburg


One thing is sure: To deal with climate change and a rising sea level, Hamburg requires a comprehensive and intelligent concept for flood protection. Because extreme weather situations and Elbe flood waters are occurring more frequently and are making storm surges a permanent danger. One consequence: Flood protection for the harbor city was increased. With new protective walls, built by HOCHTIEF, the people of Hamburg can now feel a good deal safer as they look to the future.

Projects at a glance:

  • Schaartor Sluice
  • Niederhafen /harbor promenade

Niederhafen /harbor promenade

Schaartor Sluice

In the direct proximity of the harbor promenade is the Schaartor Sluice, which directs the Alsterfleet into the River Elbe and the inland harbor. All around the Schaartor Sluice, HOCHTIEF refurbished and raised the existing flood protection system along a length of almost 200 meters. The big challenge: HOCHTIEF was only able to work when the water was at certain levels and with equipment which it had developed itself. For instance, a site manager had to obtain a boating license.

©Sky View Imaging

The New A7 Highway

©Dominik Reipka

The A7 highway is the main traffic artery for Northern Germany and Hamburg. Its expansion from six to eight lanes enables local and long-distance traffic to flow once again. The consortium Via Solutions Nord around HOCHTIEF, renewed a 65 kilometer long section of the highway. It is also operating and maintaining a 59 kilometer long section until 2044. From the Elbe tunnel to the border of the city state, the noise protection is also being considerably improved: The so-called “Hamburger Deckel” (Hamburg Lid) is part of the large-scale project.

Projects at a glance:

  • Stellingen Tunnel
  • Schnelsen Tunnel
  • Langenfelde Bridge
  • Elbe Tunnel

Langenfelde Bridge

The new Langenfelder Brücke bridge marks the starting point of HOCHTIEF's expansion work on the A7 motorway to the north. Here, the now six-lane motorway crosses a total of 17 railway tracks, a train station, a pedestrian tunnel and a main road.

©Sky View Imaging

Among engineers, the bridge is considered a "masterpiece of bridge construction".

The Hamburg Cover

The inhabitants of Stellingen and Schnelsen, who live right next to the A7 highway, had increasingly suffered from traffic noise.


Step by step HOCHTIEF suppressed the noise under the cover: Along a stretch of 900 meters, the A7 highway in the vicinity of Stellingen was not just expanded, but also covered over.

Together with the completion of the 560 meter long noise protection cover in Schnelsen to the north of the highway, new noise barriers and noise-reducing asphalt, residents next to the A7 highway have now recovered considerably quality of life.

Elbe Tunnel

Without the Elbe Tunnel, nothing functions in Hamburg. Not only commuters and companies but also holidaymakers heading north benefit from the expansion construction work performed by HOCHTIEF—most recently in 1995.

©Dominik Reipka

Mega tunnel for science—European XFEL


A different type of tunnel: With the European XFEL (X-Ray Free-Electron Laser) the world’s most modern and powerful microscope is operating in Hamburg. It is located in a tunnel system realized by HOCHTIEF. Here scientists can make the “dance of the molecules” visible: X-ray flashes create three-dimensional detailed images of molecules, cells, viruses and chemical reactions.

The project at a glance:

  • Built: 2009 to 2016
  • First x-ray laser beam: May 2017
  • Length of Tunnel System: 5.8 kilometers



We build the world of tomorrow.