Gandhi meets Elphi

connecting people

The star of the Hanseatic City of Hamburg is the Elbphilharmonie concert hall, lovingly called ELPHI. Erected on old storage buildings, it is a glittering vision made of undulating glass. The Mahatma Gandhi Bridge, located between the Elbe River and the Sandtor Harbour, provides covered access to the diva. The unimposing bascule bridge allows ships to enter the long-established harbour.

paving the way

Moveable bridges are masters of interaction; their construction requires multiple disciplines to collaborate: steel and concrete construction, hydraulic and mechanical engineering, drive and electrical engineering and architecture. And there are more conditions to meet: the waterproof operating spaces and existing quay facilities must be integrated into the flood protection facility.

creating construction culture

The structure combines the tradition of classical light steel construction for the structural system with the most recent drive technology and remote control for the moveable bridge. The bridge is intended to modestly stay in the background to avoid stealing the limelight from the Elbphilharmonie. But when the bridge opens it seems like Gandhi smiles a secret smile – a spectacular performance.

Year of completion


Type of intervention

New construction

Contracting authority

Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg



Type of structure

Road bridge

Construction method

Floating, lifting / assembly of prefabricated parts

Construction material of superstructure

Reinforced concrete, steel

Total length

30,00 m

Type of structural system

Bascule bridge

Span lengths

28,90 m

Construction height

1,26 m

Construction width

17,15 m


Architekturbüro Jean-Jacques Zimmermann

Services Grassl

Basic assessment, preliminary design, detailed design, planning for approval, preparation of tendering, health and safety coordination, technical examination, consultant services for the client, visualisation