Living with water: The Warft model Hamburg, Germany BMP

Storage for water

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Created at: 31 Jul 2022


Living with water: The “Warft” model Hamburg, Germany

The “Warft” model As an alternative to dikes HafenCity has fallen back on the settlement pattern traditional in the North Sea area, the “Warft”. A “Warft” is an artificial mound that protects a settlement in the marshes from rising water. In HafenCity this “Warft” is created by building new streets at a raised level of 7.5 to 8.5 m above MSL. There are synergies here with road construction, because some of the sand added to compact the upper soil layer can remain as the new road base. Service mains can also be accommodated in the layer of sand. Building plots do not need to be raised. Instead of a basement story an artificial base is built, usually on a level with the historic port. The exterior wall of the plinth is built to be watertight. To retain access to the water and the characteristic historic quay walls, with a few exceptions buildings are not constructed right up to the water’s edge. This creates 10.5 km of new waterside promenades at the historical port level. Where the plinth level abuts a promenade, it will be accessible at ground level. Flood gates or comparable technical equipment protects the restaurants and stores located in the plinths. Above the plinth level, the first floor is level with the sidewalks on the streets. The resulting topography characterizes the cityscape of HafenCity. The “Warft” model protects HafenCity’s residents, workers and visitors even in the case of severe flooding. Even during the strong storm surges that occur about twice a year today, city life on the “Warft” can continue largely unaffected. The promenades are only flooded for a brief period. The solution applied also retains the water level’s dependence on the tides and the resulting special character of the city districts on the Elbe. This is of particular importance for the canals of the Speicherstadt UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, the Speicherstadt, which remains at its historic level, separates HafenCity’s plinths from the parts of the city center protected by the main dike line. To ensure that HafenCity is accessible to emergency services and law enforcement even in the event of extreme flooding, the bridge structures in HafenCity are also of particular importance for flood protection.

Samenvatting (Dutch description)

Living with water: The “Warft” model Hamburg, Germany

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