The so-called ‘Perlenkette’ (string of pearls) was developed as a series of massive buildings with open areas along the River Elbe overlooking the Holzhafen (‘Timber Docks’) and is as part of Hamburg’s waterfront development since the 1980's. Within this series, at 'Holzhafen', an ensemble of three buildings present a similar outline plan. The counterparting East and West office buildings are monumental, deep buildings with inner courts and openings that ensure continued contact between the River Elbe and the city. Between them, the ‘Kristall’ residential tower will soar above its surroundings like a jewel of cut crystal.
The East office building has been realised as the first of the three during the initial phase of construction in Holzhafen. Seen from the water it looks domineeringly unambiguous and large-scale, from the street side it has a smaller scale and a more differentiated character. The combination of light orange, turf stone brick with transparent sections of steel and glass alludes to the old warehouses in the port area. The building consists of four volumes set perpendicular to the river and connected by bridges. Seven office floors meander around open internal spaces so that its users have different views towards the Elbe from each office space. In the entrance halls, gigantic glazed walls offer a majestic view. The ground floor provides space for restaurants, shops and maritime functions.