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Elbe Island, Kaltehofe, Germany

A new museum structure was additionally created during the transformation of the former water treatment plant on the Elbe island Kaltehofe. A special pattern on its façade incorporates the water theme.

Waterworks was the theme which characterized the transformation of the former water treatment plant of Hamburg’s waterworks. Andreas Heller Architects & Designers created an ensemble of an industrial memorial, museum and nature trail.

The former building of the treatment plant is a historical villa from 1894. The villa was renovated and historical features were restored. Visitors can ascend the villa’s tower, which was transformed into a lookout point and thus admire the view of the grounds that cover 11 hectares.

After the plant was decommissioned in 1990, nature took hold of the grounds again: flora and fauna were able to expand as they were undisturbed. 281 plant types and more than 40 bird species were counted on Kaltehofe.

Visitors can get to know more about the biotope on the nature tail and at the same time find out more about the historical outdoor facilities: parts of the nature trail include the restored museum filter pools.

In addition, a new building was built, which was designed in contrast to the historical villa. Shaped as a cuboid and placed in the middle of the water basin, the building virtually arises out of the water. The façade was formed with RECKLI formliners: the relief-like pattern emulates dripping water and reinforces the impression that the cuboid emerged from the water. The only access to the new building is a tunnel. Inside, the visitors can discover an artificial sculptor's work shop which represents the history of the Hamburg’s waterworks.