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Bremen is redeveloping its old port area which suffered from the typical loss of traffic due to a lack of water depth and the trend towards containerisation from the late 60ies onwards. Also, a lot of the shipbuilding facilities faced a decline. It is basically the same story everywhere in the western world, be it Baltimore, London or Hamburg. After quite a bit of struggle within the city council the decision for a thorough redevelopment was made in the late nineties, though the whole thing didn´t really kick off until late 2000´s.

This is a photo of the situation in the early nineties:

(Source: SUBV Bremen)

The first major change was the filling of the "Überseehafen" ("Overseas Harbour") to gain space for the move of the wholesale market from the airport area, a decision that is now seen as being a mistake. But we´ll come to that later.

Here is a very early version of a visualisation:

Or this one:

The current version of the master plan looks like this:

Bremen is quite proud of the new area and claims it being the largest redevelopment area in Europe at the moment with an area of almost 3,000,000 square meters, but that is of course marketing, because a huge amount of the area is still in industrial use with port activities going on.

This thread is to inform you about recent and current projects in the Überseestadt which for some reason has not had a thread by its own in this part of the forum until now.
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We will start with the area of the old Weserbahnhof, one of the former transportation hubs for loading and unloading cargo off freight trains. Its position is almost ideal because of the proximity to the city center. A river promenade that begins right in the old town now extends to the Überseestadt an connects these parts of the city.

Its development began in 2008 with the construction of the WeserTower bei Helmut Jahn, the first new highrise in Bremen since the early seventies. It has since then been completed by a hotel and lots of new office space and is now called "Weserquartier".

This is the view across the river towards the almost completed Weserquartier in the summer of 2015:

The Hotel Steigenberger under construction in the winter of 2012/2013:

and completed in March 2014:

The WQ1 by Hadi Teherani:

A view from another of the early hotspots of development, the Europahafen area towards the Weserquartier:

This whole area has a decidedly modern look, whereas there are many other areas in the Überseestadt that feature conversion of old port architecture (warehouses etc.) and a more traditional brick style architecture.
Next up a project close by to the above Weserquartier called "Bömers Spitze" on a rather peculiarly shaped triangular plot of land which led the ever grandiose local media to compare it to New York's famous Flatiron building:

Though far from impressive it is rather typical of the newer architectural trends in the Überseestadt. Construction has begun in October, so I'll keep you posted about the process.

In this thread I will irregularly present a mix of showcase-style photos and post current developments/projects and renderings. Everyone else from Bremen or with a weakness for it is of course invited to join me here!
That's right, but I think things are picking up in terms of highrises.... just look where we were 10 years ago. The first areas to be developed (Europahafen and Weserquartier) are indeed not incredibly urban, apart from the Wesertower not a single highrise and the rest not overly ambitioned concerning height/size. Hamburg's Hafencity has definitely set the pace here in Germany. But with Bremen now seriously growing and apartments selling extremely well almost everywhere, it is just a question of time until new highrises hopefully a bit more ambitioned than the rather drab Landmark Tower shown below will follow.

My hopes are that the current hot spot of development about 2 km downriver, the "Hafenkante" area will become more highrise-minded, at least it's a lot denser and also features living/apartments. And then there's the former Kellogg's area next to the Weserquartier which hopefully will also provide new chances for a denser, more urban look and a bit of a skyline. Yesterday the last shift of cereal production ended there, ending 50 years of tradition of cereal production in Bremen and putting 200 people out of work.
A few years ago, the city council introduced a mandatory mixed-income structure in larger projects (it is about one third rent control, one third non controlled rent and one third ownership). Almost all of the waterfront development had been commissioned before the introduction of this rule, only the more recent developments in the "second row" are now being built under these rules.

The first of these "Sozialwohnungen" developments was called Marcuskaje and has been universally critisised for its 70ies-style architecture (photo from Juni 2015):

But things have been picking up recently, the second huge development is called Johnson-Quartier and far from being impressive architecture it at least shows minor ambition:

As always, things need to go badly (and there is consensus amongst developers that the Marcuskaje project looks rather dreary) before someone realises there is a better way to do things. Investors (in this case mainly semipublic entities) slowly become more daring and ambitious and the current developments in this area of partially rent-controlled housing are far better and show elements of the typical northern German early modern brick architecture, such as the Cecilienquartier (Winking Froh Architekten Hamburg):

or the Europaquartier on the plot where Schuppen 3 is just now being torn down (Stefan Forster Architekten Frankfurt):

Maybe I got mixed up in the terminology. We are not talking about the project (U.S. terminology) or estate (British terminology)-like Sozialwohnungen of the 60ies and 70ies but in order to be able to provide housing for about 6-7 €/sq metre you need some sort of subsidy, at least in Germany with its complex body of regulations concerning the construction of residential buildings.

Bremen's policy with new housing aims at a mix of different income classes sharing a quarter ("Durchmischung"). This is being done by direct subsidies to the developers and also by a sort of "cross-subsidy" whereby some of the revenues of the upmarket section of a development is channeled to the subsidized part.

An example would be this project called Stephanitor (it isn't strictly in the Überseestadt, but right next to it - and it demonstrates the general idea quite well):

The tall and almost finished building to the left is rent controlled, it also functions as a sort of noise barrier from heavy traffic for the remaining houses to the right which are decidedly upmarket pricewise. Thus, people who would normally never be able to afford living with a riverview in a most central location get this opportunity while the rest of the houses are shielded from traffic noise which would go down badly with potential buyers who pay a fortune for their new apartment.

But I get what you are saying, there is definitely an income gap between people who qualify for rent-control apartments and people who can afford the non-subsidised part of this kind of housing. These people usually are being left out from these new developments in attractive areas.

A few days ago, a new project in the Überseestadt was presented to the public. It ist called "Europaquartier", the rather silly "-quartier" part somehow having become irresistible and inevitable for property developers over the last 5 to 10 years in Germany.

The whole thing centers around a rather nondescript and one-storeyed warehouse from the early postwar area of which about a third will be preserved and thoroughly remodeled whereas the rest of the area will be completely developed from scratch:

This is the area of the development:


This is an overview of the whole thing:


This is a rendering for the redeveloped warehouse part (Störmer Murphy and Partners):

This is a rendering for the midrise (56 m, 15 storeys) in the center of the area (Sauerbruch Hutton):

This is the rent-controlled part of the development (Stefan Forster):

These are a part of the smaller waterfront developments (Haslob Kruse):

Detailed visualizations of the remaining 4 waterfront buildings by Springer Architekten haven't yet been published online. Now this is probably nothing to write home about for bigger cities like Hamburg or Rotterdam, but for Bremen, this ist a huge project. I quite like it.
The detailed plans for the project "Europahafenkopf" are out:

(C) Cobe Architects Copenhagen

A small cluster of midrises and one modest high rise by Bremen standards with 77.5m and 400 apartments as well as lots of office space and a "street food court" in the ground levels right on the Europahafen harbour basin. The architecture by Cobe Architects is supposed to be reminiscent of the typical postwar warehouse architecture of the area and I think they achieved this quite well.

One of the more interesting projects in the Überseestadt area at the moment. Construction is supposed to start in February.
Yeah, I also have mixed feelings about the design... this can fail epically by somehow expanding this very basic shed roof and usually low rise warehouse architecture to urban and denser midrises.

On the other hand, it will probably form the most urban area in the Überseestadt at a prime location... so I see what you mean and I also wish that a different design had been chosen (the alternatives haven't really convinced me either, though), all in all this will nevertheless be an improvement because development up to now has been very fragmented and there were lots of unused plots between the different little cores (this isn't Frankfurt, after all). This will connect two different independent development cores...
More news from the Überseestadt:

A huge area with a peninsular shape between the Weser River and an old Harbour basin called Europahafen is currently being developed by the city and its main investor, the Bremen based wind energy consultant wpd. Its owner bought about 100,000 sq meters from the cereal company Kellogg's who had one of its European production facilities on the site.

This is the area in an aerial view from 2016 (Source Wirtschaftsförderung Bremen):

This is a current version of the planning, a work still in progress as more than one bureau have won the first architectural competition:

Some of the main landmarks on the site will be preserved, such as the granary and the adjacent "Rice Hall" that will be converted into a hotel and restaurants:

(Delugan Meissl Associated Architects)

In the central part of the area, the pre-war administrative building will be converted into an elementary school and behind it, there will be areas reserved for a new interpretation of the typical Bremen row houses, this part was won by the Bremen based architects of Gruppeomp:

(sorry, I didn't find a bigger one)

This is something very special for a new development in Bremen... we will see how it works out. The whole area is to be car-reduced with lots of open and semi-public spaces.

This is another view of the riverfront by the Berlin based bureau SMAQ architects which also won parts of the competition...

All in all, an exiting project for Bremen...

More information:
Disagree strongly in this case. As you may know, I am rather critical of the development in the Überseestadt as it fits your description rather well at the moment.

It is a very outstretched and divided development area with about 4 different, but rather isolated hot spots of development and a rather "dead" office feel in the evenings. Apart from a few restaurants, there is hardly any reason to be there after offices close. But this is going to change with these two projects I presented.

First of all, both are situated right next to the city centre, whereas much of the development up to now has been going on at the point farthest away from the centre. Secondly, this last project alone will house up to 5,000 people, plus the Europahafenkopf with about 500 people, plus the area around Reeperbahn with about 300 people. There is going to be schools and supermarkets, all the normal "city" things that are missing in the Überseestadt at the moment. Together with the extension of the riverfront boulevard "Schlachte" which connects said areas to the rest of the city on foot or by bike without any crossings of streets, this will definitely change the way the Überseestadt is being perceived in Bremen.

Just think of two kilometers of South-West oriented riverfront development right next to the city centre in a formerly completely secluded and closed-off industrial area. Then there are the new bridges spanning the Europahafen and the Weser River to connect Woltmershausen (and the "Tabakquartier" which is another redevelopment area in Woltmershausen) to the Überseestadt.

No, as I said, I myself am one of the biggest critics of the Überseestadt and all its planning mistakes, from the filling of the "Überseehafen" harbour bassin in 1998 to the stupid Großmarkt area in the centre creating noise and traffic, the orientation towards offices and rather bland and standard housing projects, the total lack of any kind of public life besides office workers eating lunch, the traffic problems...

It is really not easy to get me excited, but this is one such case. The Überseeinsel thing has the potential for being the single most important development for Bremen in decades.
They show so many public spaces full of people, but aside from having a job in one of the buildings, I see no reason to be there at all, neither as a resident nor as a visitor. It's far away from all places of interest in Bremen, in the middle of nowhere, with nothing to offer that's worth going there.
And the real draw will always be classic Bremen, this is nothing that is primarily directed at tourists (although of course they are welcome, now already there are tours of the Überseestadt with a little electric street-train available and seemingly well booked). This is also no competition whatsoever for the historic Bremen where we will hopefully see the reconstruction of the famous Weserrenaissance Essighaus facade as part of the "Balgequartier" project. As as you know, I hope this to be a starting point for more reconstructions in the years to come ;).

The projects shown above are nothing more and nothing less than your typical harbour front redevelopment happening all over the world in underused former harbour and warehouse districts. But contrary to the Hafencity which basically started from scratch and is 100% new if you leave out the Kaispeicher A on which the Elbphilharmonie was built, there are lots of traces of the old warehouse architecture in the Überseestadt, many of the buildings have been preserved and even are listed now... so there is more contrast between old and new, although as the area was heavily bombed during WW2, "old" usually means post war in the areas shown:

But in the northern parts of the Überseestadt, there are lots of prewar warehouses, granaries and mills that survived the bombings:

Bremen definitely lacks something as enchanting as the Speicherstadt, though.
Agree. Not unlike HafenCity in Hamburg (other than the symphony hall). They could establish some good restaurants and art galleries, but the real draw could have been classic Bremen historic architecture and design. Once done, your comment about being in the "middle of nowhere" will be well looks just about like everywhere else in nowhere land.
But Bremen and especially its neglected western parts really have changed since those times... there is the College of Arts in Speicher XI, so there are students around all over the place. Walle is really developing well and starting to show signs of gentrification with cafés for young parents with kids and nice bars. They renovated the derelict Union Brewery there, this is now a very popular destination for people who would not have set a foot into this part of the city just 10 years ago:

Although absolutely catching your drift and agreeing to the general observation, you really can't compare some of these terrible "Stadtvillen" developments at the harbour front in Oldenburg to what's going on in Bremen. As I said, there is lots of architecture from all periods that is being preserved, you have old warehouses, lots of restaurants, you have a museum in Speicher XI, you have the vintage car exhibition in Schuppen 1, there is a place for skaters in one of the parks that is being used a lot, there is going to be a beach at the westernmost end of the Überseestadt that is under construction just now:


These are the rooftop apartments on Schuppen 1 you can reach by a car lift:


so there really is a lot going on already. The main mistake in the plans was that the port industries tried to prevent housing in the area, this was an argument that had been simmering since the nineties within Bremen politics. The companies within the old "Freihafengebiet" were afraid that housing would lead to them being sued for noise and immissions so that Bremen had to give them guarantees that this would not be happening. The new "urban area" (Urbanes Gebiet) within German zoning law is a direct consequence of this conflict in Bremen.

So, one could argue, too little, too late housing to bring life into the area. But in fact, the closing of the Kellogg's plant changed things a lot in the southern part of the area since the only emittor of noise and smells is now gone. This changes everything for these parts of the Überseestadt and will enable a lot of development that would otherwise not have been possible. And I don't doubt for one minute that the Bremers will embrace new opportunities to spend time at the Weser river as they do this everywhere else where it is possible already.

A Bremen-based micro brewery will open a beer garden this coming summer on the premises of the Überseeinsel, we'll see how that works out.
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