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What appeared in 1994 to be a one-off event, the 'Hamburger Architektur Sommer', has now become a triennial architectural feast. This year sees its third appearance in this north German Hanseatic city on the Elbe.

Hamburg styles itself 'Gateway to Europe' on the strength of its modern container port, developed high-speed train, autobahn and air links, international trading traditions, print media centre and new micro-electronic centre. The city has the highest number of resident multi-millionaires in Germany and 3029 registered architects, some of whom are also millionaires. Over the last decade, as Hamburg found itself once again able to serve trade and credit lines between Eastern Europe and the West, expanding economic needs transformed Hamburg's cosy architecture partnerships into production offices equipped with CAD and international architects and year-out students who suddenly all wanted to work in Germany.

Apart from work in the hinterland, including Berlin and eastern Germany, there are still more mega projects planned for Hamburg, from a new Harbour City on a partial island in the Elbe to the MAZ-Micro Electronic Users Centre, built around Hamburg-Harburg's Technical University on the south bank of the Elbe. Hamburg is a copybook example of a city founded on water trade which now has to find white collar uses for dilapidated harbours. Key factors in making post-industrial regions attractive to new wave business initiatives are the recycling of brownfield sites and their decontamination, clean-up programmes for air and water, and access to river or canal banks with recreational landscaping. These specific concerns are featured in Hamburg this summer.

From May to October architecture appears in over 60 events, from exhibitions in the classical sense of gallery viewing to interactive computer documentation, lectures, conferences, architectural tours, films on architecture and installations. Some of the longer running exhibitions include 'Museums for a New Century' (until 10 September) featuring 25 of the most famous recent examples from Bilbao to Los Angeles; 'House Show' (until 17 September) which explores architecture in art with Mario Merz's glass igloos; Bernd & Hilla Becher's photographic record of industrial structures take their place alongside other established and younger artists' works; 'Christian Frederick Hansen' (until 24 September) features original eighteenth-century drawings, supplemented by contemporary photography of projects by this Danish architect who built for diplomats, lawyers and merchants in Hamburg and later became Royal Director of building in Copenhagen where he produced many of the city's public landmarks; 'HafenCity' (until 2 7 August) publicizes Hamburg's new 155 hectare city on the Elbe which will take shape over the next 20 years; 'Architects Bothe Richter Teherani' (until 13 August) is an imaginative show featuring the extra-terrestrial buildings of this Hamburg-based office but presented through the eyes of the artist Klaus Kumrow. Star architects Shigeru Ban, Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue, and von Gerkan, Marg and Partners get individual showcase exhibitions. 'Tony Garnier-Gunter Henn, Industry Returns to the City' (26 September - 6 November) sets Garnier's 1904 cit[acute{e}] industrielle against Gunter Henn's recent designs for Volkswagen's New Auto City in Wolfsburg and a glass factory in Dresden city centre. Hamburg's women architects, interior designers, planners, landscape architects and handworkers in 'Blackbread and cakes -- Women Networks in Building Professions' flex their brain muscles on a historic trading ship anchored in the harbour. Open forums and student workshops discuss past road planning disasters and future alternatives while the influence of non-stop shopping, cleaned-up robotic industries and electronic networks on cityscapes are recurring themes.

Necessary ingredients for such a festival are money and space and Hamburg has plenty of both. The location map in the festival catalogue lists 39 event venues, from the Architektur Centrum, a local architects' initiative in an ex-post office sorting hall, to 13 public and private museums and galleries, the city's Literature House with its caf[acute{e}] and rooms for author readings, the Academy of Arts and modern furniture showrooms.

With Hamburg and Hanover within an hour's train journey of each other, architectural tourists may want to combine the Architektur Sommer with EXPO 2000.
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Article Details
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Author:DAWSON, LAYLA
Publication:The Architectural Review
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Jul 1, 2000
Words:629
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