The results are in for the ideas competition for Grasbrook

The urban and landscape design ideas process launched jointly by HafenCity Hamburg GmbH and the Hamburg Ministries for Urban Development and Housing, and Environment and Energy concluded April 3 with the final meeting of the jury. The prize-winning design by the team of Herzog & de Meuron and Vogt Landschaftsarchitekten will now determine the overall urban and landscape design appearance of the Grasbrook district. The next steps are to draw up a detailed landscape design and development plan, allocate plots and plan the architecture of the individual buildings. The first building construction work could begin 2023.

Innovative competition process: urban and landscape design on an equal footing

The goal of the now complete qualification process to determine the urban and landscape design character of Grasbrook district is to deliver high-quality functional development planning to govern later construction. It was decided to conduct the process as a Competitive Dialog, which allows for continuous adaptation by the awarding authority and the planning firms in dialog as well as extensive public participation. A particularly innovative element of the Competitive Dialog was that landscape design has not been reduced to “subsequent greening” but was an equal component addressed in the competition simultaneously with urban planning issues.

(The illustration shows the competition site for the Competitive Dialog)

The Competitive Dialog as a combined, two-phase procedure (EU-wide award procedure compliant with Article 18 VgV) for simultaneous determination of the urban and landscape design character of the new district of Grasbrook began September 2019. Prior to this a pre-qualification competition determined six urban design and six landscape design specialists as competitors.

At the first jury session of December 3, 2019, six participating firms from a total of 12 were selected for the detail phase. These six “finalists” also formed three teams, each comprising one urban design firm and one landscape design firm, who then added detail to their combined urban and landscape design concepts. The Competitive Dialog was then brought to a close with a final decision at the second jury session on April 3, 2020.

The whole Grasbrook competition process was supported by an intensive process of public participation, run as a mix of public events and online processes, that met with great public interest. About 2,500 members of the public in total fed their suggestions, fears and ideas into the process. Even after the conclusion of the Competitive Dialog, the next planning stages will continue to be accompanied by a diverse range of public participatory opportunities. More information of the topic of public participation can be found under “Get involved”.

The call for the Competitive Dialog was issued jointly by the Hamburg Ministries for Urban Development and Housing, and Environment and Energy, and by HafenCity Hamburg GmbH. The competition brief for the planning teams included results of the comprehensive site analysis (The following document is currently only available in German), the results of the preceding public consultations (The following document is currently only available in German) (incl. “Grasbrook workshops”) as well as initial approaches to the strategic innovation topics.

Participating firms in phase 2 (detail)

In their second and final jury session on April 3, the panel of judges comprising representatives from various specialisms and politics and chaired by Prof. Matthias Sauerbruch (sauerbruchhutton) decided on the following awards:

Participating firms in phase 1 (concept)

The following firms were selected for the process in the pre-qualification competition:


Copenhagen, Denmark

2. gmp International GmbH
Hamburg, Germany

3. Herzog & de Meuron Basel Ltd.
Basle, Switzerland

4. KCAP International B.V.
Rotterdam, Netherlands

5. Mandaworks AB
Stockholm, Sweden

Rotterdam, Netherlands


1. Atelier Loidl
Landschaftsarchitekten Berlin GmbH
Berlin, Hamburg

2. Karres en Brands RB
Hilversum, Netherlands

3. Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl GmbH
Hamburg, Germany

4. Studio Vulkan Landschaftsarchitektur GmbH
Zurich, Switzerland

5. VOGT Landschaftsarchitekten AG
Zurich, Switzerland

6. WES GmbH LandschaftsArchitektur
Hamburg, Germany

Core themes in Competitive Dialog design brief

  • Spatial and use-related identity creation in sub-areas/neighborhoods
  • High density and inner-city intensity of use
  • High standard open space and promotion of urban ecosystems
  • Urbanity through use mix of residential, office, education, culture, research and development
  • Noise protection from roads to the east and port to the south
  • Approach to existing (heritage) buildings and spatial structures
  • Consideration of biodiversity and climate change regarding aspects of the urban climate and urban water cycles
  • Ecological improvement of river banks and integration of water areas
  • Preparation of a sustainable access and mobility concept
  • Participation in devising innovative supply and waste disposal (CO2 neutrality)
  • Cost-effectiveness of building, access and circulation, and open space structures

Competition brief for Competitive Dialog