Case study: Building elevation, Hafencity, Hamburg

Description of the application

A special solution had to be worked out to defend the new part of town against occasional storm surges. Surrounding HafenCity by dikes would have created a series of distinct disadvantages. Proximity to large expanses of water is what gives the new district much of its charm; dikes would have deprived it of the many exciting sight lines down to the water - particularly in the public built environment. Another point is that complete enclosure of the 127 hectare site by dikes would have had to have been completed before any construction of buildings began; a technical and economic tour de force of that kind would also have put the successive development of the district in question. But by elevating the buildings on plinths made of mounds of compacted fill ("Warften" in German), it has been possible to connect HafenCity with the existing city area and develop it step by step from west to east, and from north to south. All new buildings stand on artificial bases eight meters above sea level - out of reach of the most extreme flooding. On the exposed windward sides, such as the southern sides of Strandkai and Überseequartier, the external perimeter will actually lie at 8 to 9 meters above sea level. It is the responsibility of the private developers of buildings to put these artificial compacted bases in place, so their number is growing as the number of buildings increases. This has dispensed with any need for premature financing of flood-protection measures years - or even decades – ahead of the sale and deployment of the sites concerned.


Implementation cost

Estimated financial cost for the implementation of the measures, given as a cost range.

Flood management measure

Which flood management measures have been applied? Multiple measures may be specified.


Projects from which information has been harvested. Multiple projects may be specified.


Country in which the application (case study) is located. In case of a transboundary application multiple countries are specified.

Responsible authority level

Level of Responsible Authority.

Last modified: Sept. 12, 2016, 9:38 a.m.