Hilldegarden on top of Hamburg’s Hochbunker

A team of local residents and architects in Hamburg’s neighbourhood of St. Pauli have been granted planning permission for a proposal to repurpose a war bunker dating back from the 1940s.

An ambitious project will soon be implemented in the middle of St. Pauli with the Hilldegarden. The proposal seeks to create a “green mountain” garden atop the disused roof of the bunker along with a range of mixed-use projects that increase its height by several stories. The Hochbunker will receive a public garden with a panoramic view. A 300 meter long ramp leads to the roof, where a multi-storey structure with 5,500 square meters of green space is planned. A wild flower meadow, 228 trees and large shrubs, areas for urban gardening, a cafe, an amphitheater and a sports hall and on the bunker walls 3,000 square meters of vertical greenery. The cost is estimated to be between 25 and 30 million Euros, while the construction period is set at 16 to 18 months.

The walk up the “hill” will be open to the public until 10pm, offering a literally elevated experience of relaxing and drinking enjoyed in St. Pauli’s colourful neighbourhood. Sustainability forms part of the project’s driving force, with plans for a bio-kiln producing hot water and energy from rotting wood. Water will be collected and reused, and a public garden will form part of the green landscape dedicated to urban food production, with residents applying for planting plots.

The 38 meter high, gray colossus of reinforced concrete has been a memorial on St.Pauli since the Second World War. The green bunker has long been discussed. Local residents as well as historians and conservationists reported concerns. They fear a disfigurement “of the most important memorial against the war”.

Images by Planungsbüro Bunker or Hilldegarden.org