In Hamburg’s HafenCity district, German architecture firm blauraum Architekten has recently completed the KPTN, a new city block that fits about a dozen different functions under one roof. Inspired by the storehouses of Hamburg’s historic Speicherstadt, the mixed-use development comprises five warehouse-like brick buildings engineered for energy savings and long-term adaptability. With energy consumption levels significantly below those mandated by the German Energy Conservation Directive, EnEV 2009, the project has been entered for the HafenCity (Gold) certificate, an environmental accolade.

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large brick building on a city block

Conceived as a “city within the city,” the KPTN comprises a cinema, the Hafenbühne stage, restaurants, bars, the Pierdrei hotel, shops, a public underground car park and 220 free and subsidized apartments with access to rooftop playgrounds and a landscaped inner courtyard. The residences range from studio apartments to three- or four-room apartments for families. Despite the diverse program, the open and flexible development that is spread over seven to eight stories — with two floors located underground — presents as a unified whole.

Related: Kuehn Malvezzi tops a brick office building in Germany with an energy-efficient greenhouse

balconies on a brick building
brick building covered in windows and small balconies

“The KPTN could be seen as a modern hybrid city warehouse that is able to respond to changing requirements,” the architects explained. “Small apartments can be combined to form larger units and shop areas can be flexibly subdivided. Sustainable building is thus defined as long-term adaptability. The materials were selected with a view to a long service life: durable, weather- and abrasion-resistant surfaces and low-maintenance windows and door frames, reversible connection methods of components that can easily be replaced.”

white and light blue bedroom with a gray tufted headboard and large windows
close-up up small angled balconies on a brick building

To further future-proof the development, the architects surrounded the hotel and cinema complex with a flood protection balcony. Resident comfort is elevated with innovative HafenCity windows with fixed solar screens, soundproof glazing for the sliding doors and operable windows to promote natural ventilation.

+ blauraum Architekten

Photography by Marcus Bredt via blauraum Architekten