A historic foundry in Hamburg that has long since been abandoned and is covered with moss and graffiti has recently been converted into a luxury hotel with annexed restaurant. The building stands in the heart of Hamburg, near to the St. Pauli district and just two blocks from the historic club where the Beatles began their career.

The project has drastically changed the building, adding a new wing but without destroying its original character.

Some parts of the foundry were very unstable and it would have been very difficult for them to support the new loads that the project conversion required. Consequently a new steel bearing structure has been made, which also supports the parts of the historic facades (mainly brick walls) which had become totally unstable.

The new project revolves around the winter garden in the centre. The steel bearing structure is only visible in a few points, because the majority has been clad inside with fireproof elements. The only really visible exception is the “bridge structure” that dominates a portion of the main facade overlooking Simon von Utrecht Straße, and which houses the bar and the wellness centre.

The size is considerable: the structure is 7.75 m high, corresponding to two floors, for an overall development of 48 m. The load on the bridge structure (double-storey plus the roof) does not bear on the existing building but is carried to ground through four independent columns. Given the elasticity of the structure, the considerable flexion that is involved, the fixing method for the curtain wall of glass panels, the load had to be carried without any rigid behaviour, which could have caused dangerous internal stress, and even damage and break the glazed parts. The anchoring method for the glazed components (structural windows), allows a relative movement for them with respect to the bearing frame. The corner windows have stainless steel safety fasteners, which maintain the same position without any detachment of the pane should it be accidentally damaged.

Marina Cescon

Acciaio Arte Architettura N.34 – June 2008