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Wednesday 22 April 2009

Sternschanze, Hamburg, Germany (1910)

We feature one of the three surviving water towers in Hamburg, that once boasted 43. This huge tower has been tastefully converted into the luxury Mövenpick hotel, with 226 rooms and opened on the 17th June 2007.

This water tower is currently the German international water-tower Society's "Tower of the Month" and features on the cover of the April edition of Der Wasserturm.

After the fire of Hamburg in 1841 destroyed the city, British engineer William Lindley was employed to rebuild the water system. In 1863 he built he subterranean reservoir in Sternschanzen Park that was decommissioned in March 1905. Between 1907 and 1910 the 189 ft tall, 105 ft diameter, octagonal brick water tower was built on the site at a cost of 697,000 gold marks. Designed by the architect Wilhelm Schwarz, it was at the time, the largest water tower in Europe. The tower contained two dished water storage tanks located one above the other. After World War II, when its roof was partially destroyed by bombs, the water tower returned to use but Hamburg’s water authorities stopped using the water tower in 1956 and it was finally decommissioned in 1961.

Ernest-Jo Storr from Munich, purchased the tower on 16th July, 1990 for DM 39,200. In 1993 Patrizia Project Development GmbH to came up with the proposed conversion of the tower into a hotel, designed by Falk von Tettenborn. The original roof was to be lifted off by crane, with the intention of re-using it. The steel roof was in too poor a condition and had to be dismantled. The internals were removed and a new reinforced concrete core was poured with a sliding shuttering at the rate of 5.5” per hour, over a period of 18 days. The floors made of pre-cast concrete, were then lifted into the tower, they are supported by the former supports for the water-tanks. Much of the Façade has been retained, the provision of emergency elevator, independent of the hotel’s power supply system, negated the need for an external emergency staircase. A new roof was rebuilt in concrete and steel, resembling the original roof, but with more windows. The conversion, incorporated the older covered reservoir, where the hotel lobby is now situated, took approximately two years. Located in Sternschanzen Park, a kilometre northwest of Hamburg’s city centre at 53º 31’ 53” North, 9º 58’ 14” East, capacity 1,000,000 gallons.

Photographs of the interior, from when it was still a water tower, may be found on the ALOYS KIEFER FOTOGRAFIE web site. If your web browser has the QuickTime Plug-in, some amazing 360º views can be seen at the 360º VR-PANORAMA site.

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