HafenCity University Subway Station
Tuesday 11 Jun 2013


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The subterranean project in Hamburg, Germany is a result of a synthesis of the exterior's materials, textures, lights and characteristics. The design of Hamburg's Hafencity-University subway station reacts in an associative manner with local identities manifest in the harbour city: it responds to the iridescent colours of the brick facades which change with the seasons and the changing daylight, and the steel ship's hulls, with the massive superstructures of the cranes and ocean freight container modules.

Being heavily rooted in the life around the harbour and the industrial nature that accompanies, the concept stemmed from the use of steel, light, colour and reflection.

A powerful ambiance is created by hanging twelve metal-framed glass boxes weighing six tons each and with the exact dimensions of a standard shipping container (6.5m x 2.8m x 2.8m) in repetition over the middle of the platforms. The translucent panels between the sharply defined frames glow from the light of 280 individual RGB LED emitters in each capsule. To illuminate the platform with evenly distributed warm-white light, each underside of the containers is made of matt-white glass.

The colours can be coordinated by different sections in each free-hanging unit or as an entire set and can change to signal the arrival or departure of trains, synchronize with the seasons or simply create an enjoyable environment. Carefully composed, the colour schemes change smoothly in unexcited rhythms; the concept is not intended at all to generate an entertainment-like, colour changing circus. Both atmosphere and spatial experience created by the colours are extremely powerful.

All entrance areas and ticket halls are illuminated with fluorescent cove lighting systems to sharpen the architectural concept, and with freely arranged, recessed metal-halide downlights. As on the platform, the well balanced reflection of all architectural materials plays a key role in the lighting quality of this project.

Client: Hamburger Hochbahn AG (HOCHBAHN), Hamburg

Date of completion: November 2012

Size: 4.800 sqm

Architects: Raupach Architekten, Muenchen

Lighting Design: Pfarré Lighting Design, Muenchen

d-Lightvision, Muenchen

Container Design: Design Stauss Grillmeier, Muenchen

Pfarré Lighting Design