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Niederhafen River Promenade showcased in Roca London Gallery exhibition

Photography by Piet Niemann of the Niederhafen River Promenade in Hamburg is included within the exhibition ‘Sea Change: Flood Resilient Architecture for the 21st Century’ at the Roca London Gallery. Curated by Studio Woode, the exhibition presents projects from around the world exploring how architecture is addressing a growing climate reality: urban flooding.  

The Niederhafen River Promenade in Hamburg by ZHA is integral to the modernisation and reinforcement of the city’s flood protection system.

In the aftermath of storm surge floods in February 1962 that caused 315 fatalities and destroyed the homes of 60,000 residents, between 1964 and 1968 Hamburg developed a barrier on the banks of the River Elbe at Niederhafen to protect the city against floods up to a height of 7.20m above sea level.

Modern hydrology and computer simulations have since forecast the city’s flooding characteristics with greater accuracy; calculating an increase in the barrier height was required to protect Hamburg from future winter storm surges and extreme high tides.

Inspections of Niederhafen’s flood barrier in 2006 determined that the existing structure needed significant reinforcement. Later that year, the city organised a competition to design the redeveloped barrier, awarding the project to ZHA.

The Niederhafen flood protection barrier incorporates the city’s riverside promenade providing panoramic views of the Elbe and its historic port.

The redevelopment of Hamburg’s Niederhafen flood protection barrier reconnects its river promenade with the surrounding urban fabric of the city; creating links with adjacent neighbourhoods.

Wide staircases resembling small amphitheatres are carved within the flood protection barrier at points where streets from the adjacent neighbourhoods meet the structure; giving passers-by at street level views of the people strolling along the promenade at the top of the barrier and views of the masts & superstructures of ships in the Elbe. Similar amphitheatres facing the river alternate with these city-facing stairs. Ramps also connect the river promenade with street level providing accessibility for all.

Sea Change: Flood Resilient Architecture for the 21st Century
Roca London Gallery
Station Court, Townmead Road, London
1st February – 16 May 2020
Monday – Friday: 9.00-17.30
Saturday: 11.00-17.00

Photograph by Piet Niemann