The alignment of the A7 Motorway with the old steeple of Altenwerder’s church tower forms the optical reference to the works and rail-yards of the new Harbor Station. The urban planning-concept accords with the existing rail-structures and the natural surrounds. Together with the church tower, a kind of gateway is formed to the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. The special location of the project area at the edge of the Alte Süderelbe protected nature-reserve and the Altenwerder harbor widening- scheme affords a special challenge for the architectonics, the planned integration of both urban and rural elements. The design concept is based on the interplay between architecture and free space in the form of linear radial structures that open up the area from the south west round to the north east, creating a transition from industrial area to open country. The long utility building parallel to the railway tracks and the tower building rising high above it mark the architectonic transformation of the urban situation at this place. On the border between the open country and the industrial area at the edge of the Elbe mud-flats, the architecture has to mediate between the opposing landscapes of industry and nature.
The building consists of two parts. A two-story utility unit accommodating workshops, rooms for material deposit areas plus changing- and locker-rooms for the track-maintenance workers on the ground floor, and offices for administration and customs on the first floor. The tower building, also equipped with two functional floors, starts at the height of 15 m. It comprises the operational area of the incline controller, who is in charge of the down-rolling wagons, shunting them onto the right tracks and connecting them to long freight trains. He has to oversee an angle of almost 180°, from the downhill ramp to a track field consisting of about 20 rails. Also included is a large server-room where the computers are housed and operated. The level above the incline operator contains the planning and disposition management department. Here all containers are registered that are unloaded off the big sea ships in the southern part of the Port of Hamburg. These containers have to be assembled and arranged into long freight trains bound for destination all over Germany. The 2-storey utility building has no basement and is massively built with supporting brick walls and reinforced concrete slabs. The outer brickwork consists of a white Dutch concrete brick. The roof is a steel framework construction with an axis center-distance of 6.6 meters, covered with aluminum sheeting. The façade is built as a pillar and bar construction and is also made of aluminum. The tower building consists of two different constructions. A reinforced concrete tube carries the two-story steel construction of the glass tower. The additional concrete shaft of the elevator acts as a reinforcing element which stabilizes the tower. The façade of the tower also consists of aluminum and is fitted with special non-glare glass panes so that a permanent sun-blind of aluminum sheeting guarantees an optimum view across the tracks.