Wednesday, Jun. 09, 2010

Astra Tower, Hamburg

Finished in 1971, the Astra Tower loomed over Hamburg's red light district for more than three decades. The modernist edifice, which housed the brewery that made Astra beer, resembled a cross between a Barnett Newman sculpture and the early stages of a Jenga game. Located on top of a hill in Hamburg's St. Pauli neighborhood, the building became an iconic part of the area's skyline. In the 1990s, however, the brewery kept being bought out by larger and larger beverage companies, and production of Astra beer was eventually transferred elsewhere. Despite initial promises to revamp the building, the original Astra Tower was demolished five years ago. The replacement building, also called the Astra Tower, hints at the original building with an all glass-façade on the fourth floor but doesn't have the gravity-defying feel of the original, or for that matter, a brewery.