12 October 2023, by Newsroom editorial office
Photo: Ministry of Science, Research, Equalities and Districts
At the handing-over ceremony (from left): Sprinkenhof’s managing director Martin Görge, finance senator Dr. Andreas Dressel, science senator Katharina Fegebank, and University president Prof. Dr. Hauke Heekeren
View of the Philosophenturm from the campus
The new core of the Philturm is the central library.
It provides significantly more room for student workspaces.
Lecture hall in the building
After 5 years of challenging restoration efforts in line with conservation requirements, the 14-story building will reopen just in time for the lecture period starting on 16 October. Alongside extensive fire safety measures, an addition in the courtyard, and a new central library, the Philosophenturm building’s technology has been replaced. On Thursday, Hamburg’s science senator Katharina Fegebank; finance senator Dr. Andreas Dressel, the University’s president Prof. Dr. Hauke Heekeren, and Sprinkenhof’s managing director Martin Görge announced the building’s reopening.
This brings the challenging large-scale project to a successful close at the start of Winter Semester 2023/24. Following the gradual return of Universität Hamburg employees starting in August 2023, the Faculty of Humanities will also return to the centrally located Von-Melle-Park campus.
In addition to urgently needed renovations related to fire safety, the newly built “cube” in the formerly unused courtyard provides space for additional student workspaces and exchange among departmental student bodies. The different sections of the department’s library, previously dispersed throughout the building, are now centrally located and accessible to disabled individuals over 6,000 square meters and 5 stories in the lower part of the building.
Science senator Katharina Fegebank: “I am very happy that the University’s operations at the Philosophenturm have started again and the Humanities are back at Von-Melle-Park. The new heart of the Philturm is the central library, with significantly more workspaces for students. This is important at times when teaching and learning are becoming ever more flexible and digital. The new cube now fills the previously unused courtyard, where students study, meet in their departmental student bodies, and organize student life. I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to everyone involved, especially Universität Hamburg’s employees, who have supported this complex building project constructively at every stage.”
Finance senator Dr. Andreas Dressel: “This project faced significant hurdles. So I am all the more delighted that the extensive renovation and modernization work at the Philosophenturm is now nearly complete. Teachers and students will now find the best working and studying environment to meet the challenges of today’s world.”
Prof. Dr. Hauke Heekeren, president of Universität Hamburg: “Back to the Philosophenturm—the move and renewed operations at the Philosophenturm this Winter Semester 2023/24 is an important milestone for Universität Hamburg in the areas of teaching and campus development. Following the extensive renovation measures, the Faculty of Humanities is ‘back home in the Philturm’ on the Von-Melle-Park campus. The Philosophenturm, in the wake of the renovations, now has room for 2,500 students and roughly 500 workspaces. The significance of the move for our students is especially dear to me: the cube in the building’s courtyard, with student workspaces and rooms for student life, is, next to the central library, a highlight.”
Martin Görge, managing director of Sprinkenhof GmbH: “The extensive renovations and modernization of the Philosophenturm were a challenging building task requiring a lot of patience and commitment. The pandemic and the unforeseen events of the last 2 years have been major challenges for everyone involved. We are aware that the patience, especially of the students and the University’s employees, has been sorely tried and will still be required until the final touches have been made in the dining hall. We are very proud to have preserved this impressive building and returned it to Universität Hamburg.”
The Philosophenturm ist a 14-story landmarked building designed by the architect Paul Seitz in 1962 for the University’s campus. Its fragile Mid-Century Modern construction makes the landmark seem weightless. The Philosophenturm now offers room for 2,500 students and roughly 500 workspaces. An evaluation revealed that the building had developed fundamental architectural and technical problems. There was also an urgent need for fire safety measures. Starting in August 2017, the University moved operations step-by-step to City Nord while plans were being made for the necessary restoration work. The poor state of the building’s structure, the expansion of renovation work to other parts of the building, the corona pandemic, and the war against Ukraine also delayed plans.
The Ministry of Science, Research, Equalities and Districts commissioned Sprinkenhof GmbH with the construction measures using a tenant/landlord model. Overall costs for the restoration run between €115 and €120 million.