7.1.2020

Elbbrücken Railway Stations

In time for the timetable change on December 15, 2019, trains stopped for the first time at the new Elbbrücken metropolitan railway (S-Bahn) station.

With the opening of this stop, the Elbbrücken Underground and S-Bahn station has been completed and passengers can now change directly from the S-Bahn to the Underground system at this new public local transport interchange. Commuters will now have the opportunity to change trains here on their way to Hamburg city center, which will take some of the pressure off the main railway station. Like the Underground station that has already been completed, the roof of the S-Bahn station and the connecting Skywalk were designed by architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp) in cooperation with the structural engineers schlaich bergermann partner (sbp).

HafenCity is the most important urban development project of the growing Hamburg metropolitan region. When completed, the Elbbrücken precinct, which is currently being designed and built, will – with its urban Elbbrücken center – eventually form the eastern end of HafenCity. This is also the location of a congress hotel with a 19-story hotel tower designed by gmp. In order to connect the new urban precinct to the local public transport system, the U4 Underground line has been extended to the  Elbbrücken bridges and a new stop has been completed on the S3/S31 S-Bahn line. The resulting Underground and S-Bahn station provides an attractive interchange opportunity, particularly for city-center-bound commuters who live to the south of the Elbe River, which will take a significant load off the main railway station during rush-hours.

The Underground station and the design of the roof of the S-Bahn station display the same architectural signature, which means that the transport building and the Elbbrücken development appear as one entity. The design for the three-dimensional geometry of the steel and glass structure was submitted by the architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp) together with structural engineers schlaich bergermann partner (sbp) as part of a competition for the Underground station, with the intention of creating a modern reflection of the imposing historic Elbbrücken bridges, which are listed as a historic monument. The special position of the Underground station – the line emerges from underground only just before the station and then runs at high level in parallel to the Elbbrücken bridges – creates different levels for the ticket hall, the platform, and the bridges crossing the tracks, which are accessed via steps, escalators, and elevators.

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The top steel bridge provides access to the Skywalk that connects the Underground station with the S-Bahn station. This 70-meter-long pedestrian bridge provides a barrier-free crossing over Versmannstrasse and the long-distance railway tracks.
In this design, architecture and structural engineering are closely interconnected; the synthesis of these two disciplines is mandatory for the optimal development of such a project. The roof structure of the Underground station and the S-Bahn station creates an ellipsoidal arch profile consisting of crossing arched steel frames. The twisted steel beams are arranged to form a diamond-shaped grid pattern, in which the individual arches stabilize each other. Both roofs are based on an eight-meter axial grid. The structural steel members are outside the envelope – the glazing being supported on the inside – thereby achieving a distinguished presence in the cityscape, creating an aesthetic response to the adjacent Elbbrücken bridges. In line with the
diamond pattern, the roof ends at both gable sides are shaped in the form of conspicuous projecting points.

Analogous to the glass hall of the Underground station, the envelope of the Skywalk also has an ellipsoidal arch cross section that has been constructed using curved safety glass. The glazed envelope provides protection from the weather and offers spectacular views across the roads, tracks, and Elbbrücken bridges.

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