- A huge former Nazi bunker in Hamburg, Germany is set to become an upscale hotel.
- The Flak Tower IV was built by forced laborers as an anti-aircraft bunker in 1942.
- Since the war it has been home to nightclubs and live music venues due to its three-metre-thick walls, according to Hamburg.com.
- The new hotel, by NH Hotel group, will take over the top floors of the building and will feature a five-storey roof garden, according to an official press release.
- The garden will also be home to a memorial centre for victims of the Nazi regime, The Times reports.
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A huge former Nazi bunker in Hamburg, Germany is set to be the home of an upscale hotel.
Flak Tower IV – one of two towers – was built in 1942 as an anti-aircraft bunker and was one of the Nazis’ biggest fortresses, according to Hamburg.com.
The website says it’s one of around 650 remaining Nazi bunkers in Hamburg (during the Third Reich, the city had more than anywhere else at 1,051), however the majority were more subtle than the Flak Towers.
The huge, 35 metre-high fortress was originally built by forced labourers in response to allied air raids which began in 1940.
It has since been home to live music venues, nightclubs (the walls are a hefty 3.5 metres thick), a music store, and a workspace for media and artists, which the developers say will stay in the building on the lower floors, below the hotel.
Situated in the St Pauli area of the northern German city, part of the squat concrete block has been acquired by the NH Hotel Group, which plans to inject new life into the building with a five-storey roof garden on top and a leafy walkway around the side of the building.
The hotel, described as “a design and lifestyle hotel in the upscale segment with an open approach to the local community” and set to open in mid-2021, will have 136 rooms, a bar, a café, and a restaurant, as well as panoramic views of the city, according to an official press release.
The rooftop garden, which will be open to all, will also feature a memorial centre for victims of the Nazi regime, The Times reports.
The hotel will come under NH Hotels’ nhow brand, which means it will feature “eye-catching designs” and become a “fashionable destination,” according to the company.
However, not everyone is happy about the new hotel.
Local architect Elinor Schües told Deutschlandfunkkultur radio station that her uncle was forced to work in the bunker and shoot at British planes as a 16-year-old.
She believes the building “should represent the strength and brutality of National Socialism,” and should not be made “cuddly and green.”
But the hotel is confident its latest development will be a positive addition to the community.
“We are aware of the history of the bunker and its significance for the city of Hamburg,” Maarten Markus, Managing Director Northern Europe of the NH Hotel Group, said in a statement to Insider.
“Our design and lifestyle brand has an inclusive approach, meaning that nhow Hamburg will integrate itself into the neighbourhood and creative scene.”
Frank Schulze, a spokesperson for the building, added: “On the one hand, the bunker is a memorial to the darkest chapter in German history, to bombing nights and fears of death. For many decades, however, it has also been home to culture and creativity in a lively part of the city.
“The local residents came up with the idea of a ‘green bunker,’ the fantasy of creating something lastingly new for the rather grey quarter with the greatest responsibility for the past: for the first time, a memorial designed by citizens is being built, with rooms for exhibitions and concerts, as well as an extraordinary place to accommodate artists and creative people.
“And the highlight is the public, sensational natural oasis above the rooftops of the city. In the summer, a renowned architecture critic of a major German daily newspaper wrote that he did not know what was bad about a city garden.
“Green instead of grey, park instead of war: ‘The builder shows courage, the reconstruction of the bunker is a courageous vision and to be welcomed.'”