Wir bauen uns einen Deich

Within the programme “Stadtküste Hamburg”, the IBA /Hafencity Hamburg invited a selected group of artists, landscape architects and urban designers to come up with innovative proposals for the Elbe Insel. Question was to come up with ideas that bring people ‘closer to the dike’ and that create awareness of the threat of rising water levels. For this project DE URBANISTEN joined forces with Observatorium.

The starting point of our proposal is the space occupation of the Elbeinsel dike, which has changed dramatically over time. We place 500 years of dike evolvement in a continuous row of dike segments and blend them together into one closed dike ring, symbolizing the protected Elbe Island. This dike ring forms the basis of three spatial interventions. Each with a different scale (S-M-L) and all three positioned on a different location to emphasize the tidal experience in different ways and to provide specific social programmes on site. On each dike ring we apply a ‘dike sin’.

We make a hole in the dike. The 100 meter wide dike ring (scale 1:1) is situated in a floodable outer dike Elbe landscape. The ring creates a impressive inner space. The hole in the dike creates an unique tidal experience and features a small ‘safe’ room to stay and to enjoy the landscape.

We scratch the dike. The second dike ring is placed in the Spreehafen just outside Wilhelmsburg. The 20 meter wide inner space creates a water theater; a place for the people of Wilhelmsburg to swim, fish, perform and to enjoy the tide. The ‘scratched’ outside is a small marina that makes the dike ring accessible from over water.

We build a house in the dike. The smallest ring focuses on the interior spaces of the dike ring. On the quay opposite Hafencity we propose a inhabitable space that suits for the IBA exposition center or a short stay overnight. The steel structured ring with textile roof has an inner void hanging over the Elbe river, providing the visitors a unique experience of the tidal changes.