A fresh new book by the founder of Designers Guild
Farewell London, hello Frankfurt: here’s the new heart of financial architecture
Bankers flee the City to take shelter in Frankfurt: involving prestigious firms like BIG and UNStudio, a drastic restyling is soon to take place
Frankfurt, “the new place to be”. Is the UK already out of Europe? No panic: a few illustrious candidates are already submitting their highly competitive CVs to replace London as financial capital of the Old World. If Paris or Amsterdam is what comes to mind, well, you are certainly out of track. Indeed, Frankfurt is the city of the moment, currently living an unexpected boom thanks – alas! – to Brexit itself. While tough negotiations are taking place between British PM Theresa May and the European institutions, all major international banks based in London haven’t waited around and already laid their eyes on the German city to relocate their financial headquarters – whose UK offices have now become too expensive and disadvantageous to manage. So which city better than Frankfurt could thrust its arms out and welcome the turmoiling world of finance? The fifth-largest city in Germany, it houses the new headquarters for the European Central Bank (ECB) and Bundesbank, along with the European Union Stock Exchange. Unlike Berlin, Munich, Cologne and Hamburg, whose population exceeds one million inhabitants, Frankfurt’s citizenry is set around 800,000 units. So there is ample room for growth.
That is where the most prestigious architectural firms join in: although an actual pioneer in the financial field, the city is still a little behind on lifestyle: its cultural appeal is basically nothing comparing to to London’s sparkling allure, but orders of freshly designed buildings and urban districts are struggling to fill the gap. Here they come, some huge names of the likes of Morgan Stanley and Standard Chartered, not to mention VTB from Russia and the Japanese masters Daiwa, Sumitomi Mitsui and Nomura, all eager to move here and create a steep rise in demand for offices and high-end residential solutions. As approximately 3,000 professionals get prepared to leave London in favour of Frankfurt, the city is reworking its image to accommodate them in fashion: according to Skyline Atlas – a virtual book about the local high-rise buildings and the real estate business – a total of 19 maxi-structures are under completion, with 26 more being already penciled down in the agenda. We selected the most relevant so to give you an insight on the Frankfurt of tomorrow.
BIG - Omniturm
@ BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group
A 45-storey tower backed by developer Tishman Speyer, Omniturm features more than 44,000 square metres of little office space, apartments, restaurants and creative hubs. Christened “the first genuinely mixed-use tower in Germay”, the building will show off a simple elegant volume all wrapped in a shimmering shell. Also, the shift at the hip represents a sign that new life and a look to the future have woven their way in downtown Frankfurt.
UNStudio - City for all
Being the boundaries between professional and personal life a definitely concept, a new balance between the two realities asks to be reached: that’s the main source of inspiration for City of All, a new mixed-use development on the site of the former Deutsche Bank offices aimed to transform Frankfurt’s financial district into a lively, buzzing, avant-garde and liveable neighbourhood. The development will comprise four high-rise towers rising up to 228 meters (748 feet) high and ascending from a multi-story plinth in the heart of the city. The project includes space for retail, restaurants and hotels (employing approx. 3,000 people), as well as a full range of residential accommodation for up to 1,000 residents.
Cyrus Moser Architekten - One Forty West
@ Cyrus Moser Architekten
Local studio Cyrus Moser Architekten shares the same goal of shaping a new mixed-use district set North-West of Frankfurt: the “Bockenheim Culture Campus” is intended to blend living, working and cultural establishments. As an infill and sustainable urban development project the building complex consists of a 140-metre high tower with hotel and residential use, a 100-metre high tower with offices as well as a day nursery and a small free-standing building will enhance and revitalise the new Culture Campus.
Buro Ole Scheeren - Riverpark Tower
@ Buro Ole Scheeren
The city’s recent flourishing has attracted a great German architect back to his native soil after a long, brilliant career in the Far East: the first project by Büro Ole Scheeren to be built in Europe, the RIVERPARK Tower is a former townhouse soon to be converted into a spectacular residential high-rise project: dating back to the 1970’s, the pre-existing concrete tower will contain 220 apartments over 23 floors. These will be created by inserting modular, glass-fronted units into the tower's existing concrete framework – only possible because the building boasts a free-spanning structural framework.
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