Hamburg IBA 2013

I had the good fortune to be able to visit the Hamburg IBA 2013 this week. The IBA projects in Germany are a long-running vehicle for urban development that are set up and managed by the local authorities for each city. In each IBA there is a plan to rehabilitate or regenerate some piece of the urban fabric and IBA Hamburg is no exception.

The purpose of this IBA is to integrate the island of Wihelmsburg into Hamburg. It is a piece of land that historically was swampy and used for industrial activity, and has never been seen as a true part of Hamburg.

The IBA projects include a large series of housing projects each with a particular aim or intention, there is a building for health uses, one for older people, one to demonstrate modular timber construction, one for self-completion on the Open Building model, a building that is convertible to other uses, and so on.


The IBA also includes a number of infrastructure projects including a new energy park on the site of a toxic waste dump, Georgswerder Energy Park. The conversion of a WWII air raid shelter into an energy storage and creation plant, and the opening of a new pedestrian and cycling link from the island into Hamburg.

The project also contains the VELUX ModeHome 202 project for Germany, the LichtActiv Haus. This is very much a sister project to HTA’s CarbonLight Homes in the UK and we have learned a lot form this project and are collaborating with some of that team on the post occupancy study of our project.

There is a demonstration of an algae fuelled building which is now a test bed for this unconventional energy source. What the pictures don’t show is that the facade of the building is constantly alive as the algae tanks are ‘strained’ to extract the algae every minute or so. This makes for a rather surreal experience. It is not clear to me that this system should be put on a residential building as there is a lot of fluid being pumped around and its hard to keep that quiet, but it is certainly a fascinating case study and the results will be interesting.


There is much more information on the project website and if you are in Germany this year, I recommend a visit.


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