Front Buildings ‘Quarter of Nations’ Wilhelmsburg

Project information

The ‘Quarter of Nations‘ in Hamburg’s Wilhelmsburg district was created in connection with the IBA 2013 – a model intercultural housing project intended to house more than 1,700 inhabitants originating from 30 different nations. Gerber Architekten extended a traditional workers’ housing development with two new buildings that respond to the most fundamental elements of the existing architecture and reinterpret them by incorporating sculptural head-end volumes, whilst simultaneously reconciling them with the high energy efficiency requirements of a passive building. There are a total of 75 publicly funded housing units, of different sizes and offering different forms of accommodation; they combine accommodation types suitable for single persons, couples and families, thereby ensuring an appropriately-mixed social profile for the ‘Quarter of Nations‘.The district that is the location of the development, the Wilhelmsburg district, is situated within the city of Hamburg between two arms of the Elbe – the Norderelbe and the Süderelbe-Köhlbrand branch. The neighbourhood, which is in the south part of the Reihersteig quarter, is characterized by a traditional workers’ housing development consisting of red brick buildings dating from the 1930s: a three-storey terrace construction with red saddle roofs, which has also been modernised in connection with the IBA. The exceptionally high quality of the existing urban structure resulted in the basic elements of the existing architecture being retained; these were refined and reinterpreted by Gerber Architekten to produce the sculptural head-end structures. The use of a type of brick that harmonises with the existing infrastructure is particularly effective in emphasising and reinforcing the unity of the wider district. The so-called gate buildings represent the northern point of entry to the ‘Quarter of Nations‘, providing a logical conclusion to the block periphery. The inclusion of housing for single persons, couples and families helps to promote social diversity. All of the apartments conform to the required standards for subsidised housing, with the rents guaranteed to remain at virtually the same level in order to prevent gentrification. All of the housing units have a loggia; in the U building, these face toward the inner courtyard. In the T-building, they face toward the public park. In the interior, the loggias connect directly with the living areas, so that they appear to be an extension of the living space. This fluid transition creates a relationship between the interior and the exterior space.

Location Hamburg, Germany
Urban design competition Assignment 2008
Construction 2012–2014
GFA 10,580 m²
GV 33,870 m³
2017 Fritz-Höger-Preis (Nominee)
2017 Wohnbaupreis Hamburg (Recognition)
2016 ICONIC Award (Winner)
2016 BUILD
2015 FIABCI Prix d'Excellence Germany (Special prize)
2015 Deutscher Bauherrenpreis
2015 Deutscher Städtebaupreis
2014 Auszeichnung guter Bauten - BDA Hamburg
2014 Carl-Friedrich Fischer Preis
2013 IBA Exzellenz