Frankfurt High-Rises 1950 to 1960
Nov 5, 2014

How come that after World War II it was Frankfurt of all places that for many years was the only German city with buildings that reached for the skies – and today boasts a quite memorable skyline? Deutsches Architekturmuseum in Frankfurt/Main is exploring this question and critically examining the history of local high-rises in its exhibition “Skyward. High Rise City Frankfurt”.

We felt this to be a good occasion to present some of the high-rises that have been built down through the decades and now shape the city’s face. To coincide with the exhibition opening its door on November 7, 2014, a catalog is coming out entitled “High-Rise City Frankfurt. Buildings and Visions since 1945”; the texts and images below are reprinted from it with kind permission of the publishers.

Figure ©, Photo: Kurt Liese

Fleming’s Deluxe Hotel
Architects: Karl Blattner, Stefan Blattner
Height: 31 Meter || Storeys: 8 || Built: 1952 ||

Built for the chemical company Bayer, this steel-framed administration building on the Anlagenring near Eschen¬heimer Turm has a shell limestone façade made up of regular structural grids. Its modern elegance is reminiscent of Erich Mendelsohn’s Columbushaus in Berlin (1930–1932). Shops are located on the ground floor behind the arcades and the office floors above have been occupied by a Fleming’s hotel since 2008. Beneath a cantilevered mono-pitch roof, a bar and restaurant with an outdoor terrace offer a view of the Landwirtschaftliche Renten¬bank – yet another monument to the era of the Economic Miracle. (Philipp Sturm)

Figure © DAM Collection, Photo: Uwe Dettmar

Architect: Johannes Krahn
Height: 43 Meter || Storeys: 12 || Built: 1953-54 ||

The Bienenkorbhaus, whose name refers to the former emblem of Frankfurter Sparkasse von 1822, a beehive, stands as the urban architectural gateway to the Zeil at Konstablerwache. Inspired in part by the Lever House in New York designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (1951/52), Johannes Krahn erected an office tower that appears to float elegantly above a narrower base. Prominent features of the modern curtain wall include horizontal ribbon glazing and bands of shell limestone. The attic storey, with projecting punch windows, contains flats. KSP Engel und Zimmermann restored the original character of the building, which had suffered from the effects of preceding restorations, in 2009, and erected a second building alongside it which extends beneath the Bienenkorbhaus as a base storey. (Philipp Sturm)

Photo © Institut für Stadtgeschichte, Frankfurt am Main

Philosophicum (Goethe University)
Architects: Ferdinand Kramer, Walther Dunkl
Height: 32 Meter || Storeys: 9 || Built: 1958-1960 ||

Architect Ferdinand Kramer housed the philosophy faculty of the Goethe University using a hitherto untried construction method which shifted the steel skeleton on to the outside of the building and dispensed with the standard concrete cladding. This created a flexible floor plan which could meet changing demands on the building. The adaptability of the internal space was further enhanced by the projecting towers which contain stairwells, lifts and toilets. The striking fire escape stairs were clearly inspired by modern Chicago residential blocks. This listed building will be converted for residential use. (Moritz Röger)

SKYWARD. Highrise City Frankfurt
8 November 2014 – 19 April 2015
Deutsches Architekturmuseum

High-Rise City Frankfurt. Buildings and Visions since 1945
Edited by Philipp Sturm and Peter Cachola Schmal
hard cover, 320 p., 232 ills
Prestel Verlag
EUR 49.95