Georgswerder Energy Hill

Häfner/Jiménez Büro für Landschaftsarchitektur: Up until the end of the 1970s, building rubble, domestic refuse and industrial waste had been deposited in the Georgswerder landfill. In the early 80s it had already been established that leachate water from the landfill site contained particularly hazardous dioxins, which is why this site gained a sad fame in that time. In the years to follow, concepts for the remediation of the landfill have been elaborated and implemented. The remediated landfill site has now been functioning well for about 30 years: Essential aspects of this improvement are a continuous monitoring of groundwater, its decontamination, cleaning of landfill leakage water and the utilization of landfill gases.

A supporting vegetation layer has been put on top of the rainwater proof sealing layer covering the waste mass and now very natural looking meadows and shrubs grow on top of it. The hill has sagged down from its original height of approximately 50 m to about 30 m. Someone who is not familiar with the history of the landfill might think that this is a natural hill in the landscape.

At the same time, the progressing urban development caused the inner city of Hamburg to move closer to the landfill hill. Therefore, it stood to reason that when the landfill is transformed into the Energy Hill, its green areas would become a convenient spot for local recreation. But the new landscaping plan was also supposed to make clear that the Energy Hill is a technical construction which requires ongoing control and treatment by the generations of our children, our children’s children and beyond.

The project was started in 2009 with a competition within the scope of the international building exhibition IBA_Hamburg. The design proposed by Häfner/Jiménez Landscape Architects and Konermann Siegmund Architects, which has eventually been realised, was convincing, mainly because it combined minimal changes to the original building substance with an approach to channelling visitors and making use of the location’s natural resources in a special way. An elevated horizontal path surrounds the top of the hill and offers an excellent southeast view of the city by the Elbe River with its world-famous port and the landscape of the island in the Elbe estuary, which otherwise does not possess any comparable hills. Each visitor walks the obligatory round along the horizontal path, which also invites them to linger on the hill for a while. In the night, the outer edge of the path is illuminated and its white ring makes it visible from afar, as a landmark. The project forms part of an exhibition, in which various media are used in the new exhibition building, but also in the outdoor area and on the horizontal path, to narrate the story of how the hill has been transformed from the scandalous mountain of waste to the Energy Hill of today.

Landscape architecture: Häfner/Jiménez Büro für Landschaftsarchitektur
Construction of the horizontal path: Sauerzapfe Architekten,
Structural design of horizontal the path: ifb frohloff staffa kühl ecker,
Lighting design: IBB Ingenieurbüro Siebeck, Edgar Schlaefle Lichtdesign
Photos: Hanns Joosten
Location: Hamburg Wilhelmsburg, Fiskalische Straße 2, 21109 Hamburg
Time of completion: 2013
Constructor: BSU Hamburg/IBA Hamburg GmbH
Size: 110.000 sqm
Costs: 4.880.000 €
Text: Häfner/Jiménez (Translation: Landezine)

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