Roots Hamburg

Germany’s Highest Timber Building

Official start of construction of Germany’s Highest Timber Building „Roots“ in Hamburg HafenCity. Now the project is entering the next execution phase. Rubner Holzbau will realise the extensive timber construction work until 2023.

The timber engineering construction excels itself and strikes roots - 73 meters in Hamburg´s HafenCity.

Hamburg's HafenCity is already considered as one of the most trendy quarters of the Hanseatic City. With Roots, which was initially promoted under the working title of “Wildspitze Hamburg”, this city quarter will gain one additional architectural landmark with two different building sections. The 20 useable storeys of the tower (of which 16 are planned as timber construction) shall house exhibition rooms, administration and office rooms of the German Wildlife Foundation as well as private apartments. Additional apartments will be installed in the lower, timber-frame edifice, which has a total of seven floors (of which 6 are planned as timber construction) and which is connected to the high-rise tower as L-type structure..

The gross floor area of 20,600 m² will be used for 181 residential units, 128 condominiums and 53 state-subsidised apartments. Using timber as construction material secures natural living sensation and healthy room climate.

For the technical implementation of the project, the Hamburg architects Störmer Murphy and Partners GbR and Garbe Immobilien-Projekte as owner opted for a hybrid construction. Only the basement and ground floor of the high rise building as well as the central access and utility cores of the building have been designed as reinforced concrete structures, all the above floors will be built in timber.

High-load transferring outside walls in prefabricated element construction and solid timber floors combined with an inner cylindrical load-bearing wall form the primary structural frame of this outstanding tower. The floors, which are provided in 240 - 280 mm strong cross laminated timber elements, protrude into the sheltered outdoor area and are completed by pre-cast concrete elements for the surrounding loggias.

Project details

Location Hamburg

Completion planned 2023

Customer Garbe Immobilien-Projekte GmbH, Hamburg and Deutsche Wildtierstiftung

Architecture Störmer, Murphy and Partners GbR, Hamburg

Structural engineering Assmann Beraten und Planen, Hamburg

concrete structure Oevermann Hochbau GmbH, Münster

Size total height 73 m | timber used in construction approx. 5.500 m³

expanded timber construction

timber building partnership

Rubner Holzbau Augsburg will be responsible for technical and structural project execution. The company also carries out consulting activities in the scope of execution design and therefore it is involved in the project at a very early stage - long before workshop- and assembly design for timber engineering structures has started.

The schedule for the construction of the two buildings with an impressive gross floor area of 20,600 m2 is quite tight. All companies and trades involved in project execution start their work immediately after contract signing on November 13, 2020. On-site timber engineering works are scheduled to be executed within a period of approximately one year – Q1/2022 to Q1/2023. Planned completion and handing over of the buildings is estimated for the year 2023. By then, the new owners will be able to move into exhibition rooms, premises, offices, and apartments. 


However, the technical features of Germany’s so far highest timber building are no less impressive: factory pre-fabricated wall elements in timber frame construction cover a surface of 16,200 m2. In total, more than 5,500 m3 of softwood (4,430 m3 cross laminated timber and 820 m3 special woods) will be processed by Rubner Holzbau.

This material volume, alone, will reduce CO2 consumption by approximately 26,000 tons compared to fabrication, transport, and disposal of conventional building materials. “In addition, high pre-fabrication rates of timber elements considerably reduce construction periods on site and noise emissions are kept within a tolerable limit.

“We are very pleased that - after a long phase of acquisition - we have been selected to take up the challenge, which is supposed to be presently the most exciting, thrilling and demanding timber engineering project: to build Germany’s highest timber building with a total height of 73 metres.”

Andreas Fischer, CEO Rubner Holzbau Augsburg

Special planning processes

Timber construction consulting during planning

At Rubner Holzbau, we have developed optimised planning processes for projects in prefabricated timber construction. Timely and precise target agreements, sufficient planning lead times and cross-team communication between the client, architect, specialist planners and the trades are the key success factors.

Je früher die Holzbauspezialisten in die Projektentwicklung eingebunden sind, desto effizienter erfolgt die Umsetzung. Es versteht sich von selbst, dass „Roots“ entsprechend dieses Modells realisiert wird.


Synergies and highest efficiency


With our consultation of the specialist planners during the implementation planning, optimal processes are taken into account in the planning of the production, logistics and assembly processes. Early coordination, especially in complex projects, saves the project participants from having to re-design after the timber structures have been commissioned, and time and quality losses are prevented.

The high degree of prefabrication in modern timber engineering can be achieved through very early cooperation between architects, specialist planners and timber constructors.

In the timber construction consultation accompanying the planning, the construction and assembly processes are simulated in the interest of everyone, interfaces to other trades are considered and the weather protection of the timber construction work is planned.

Early scheduling favours a speedy project sequence and the overall construction schedule. 
Production capacities coordinated with the assembly planning enable just-in-time production of the timber construction components. Assembly takes place immediately after the production of the components.

A timber building rarely arrives on the construction site on its own. Components prefabricated industrially under workshop conditions are joined to or into reinforced concrete structures created on the construction site. We consult in advance with the specialist planners and partner trades on the necessary and required tolerances at the interfaces.

In the interest of an optimal prefabrication of timber construction elements, the contracting interfaces should also be considered. With our expertise in façade element construction, we can advise in advance on sensible contract award packages for timber construction and the relevant partner trades.