Three Questions to José Martínez of Groß & Partner
Anna Moldenhauer: Mr. Martínez, you are heading the construction of the high-rise quarter FOUR Frankfurt right in the middle of downtown Frankfurt, in collaboration with UNStudio. What aspects was it particularly important to include in the project from your viewpoint?
José Martínez: The idea behind the FOUR is that of creating a quarter – we are not just integrating four new high-rises into Frankfurt’s skyline, what we are doing here is opening up an area that was previously just not accessible, thus creating new open spaces and routes through the CBD. There will also be a dynamic mix of offices, shopping, bars, restaurants, hotels, and, of course, apartments. Some of these will also be in the form of subsidized housing. This mix will mean that all kinds of uses will be possible for all those living, working or just out and about at the FOUR. This aspect – to be able to have a positive, lasting impact on the cityscape and to offer plenty of value added as far as the public is concerned, was particularly important to us at the planning stage. At the same time, one major concern is a responsible approach to materials. Even when demolishing the existing buildings, we did so with a view to the circular economy, making sure that nearly all the materials involved can be reused. For the new high-rises we are using efficient lighting, energy and ventilation concepts so as to cut the towers’ overall energy consumption to an absolute minimum.
In your opinion how will this change life in downtown Frankfurt?
José Martínez: We are developing the triangle between Junghofstrasse, Neue Schlesingergasse, and Große Gallusstrasse, thus opening up and revitalizing an area right in the heart of the city, one to which the public used to have only restricted access. The FOUR will thus be fundamentally changing the downtown urban fabric and creating a link between the streets where consumers enjoy browsing and shopping in the city center and the adjacent banking district. At the same time, in that highly vibrant location, the quarter will offer a place of retreat, one where it will be a pleasure to spend time – for instance, thanks to the plaza right in its heart or the public roof terrace. This means that on top of the many different possible uses, there will also be a new central go-to area and meeting point right in the city.
Groß & Partner have already realized the “One Forty West” together with cma cyrus moser architekten and “The Spin” with Hadi Teherani – what findings from the latter two large-scale projects have you been able to incorporate into the FOUR Frankfurt?
José Martínez: As a matter of principle, we realize all our city-center construction projects in close collaboration with the relevant authorities and urban planners. Of course, it has been our positive experiences and the resulting cooperative work relationships in the past which have allowed us to handle major projects such as the FOUR. The One Forty West has a great deal in common with the concept behind the FOUR. After all, it is a hybrid residential and hotel tower which should not be seen in isolation, but as part of the Senckenberg Quarter Frankfurt – another city-center development for mixed-use that takes the form of a quarter and includes not only the 21 West office building but also the Senckenberg Tower and a daytime childcare facility. There are various parallels even if the FOUR involves realizing a considerably larger-scale usage mix. We developed “The Spin” as a high-rise project jointly, together with our subsidiaries GP Con and GP Log, with whom we are also realizing the building shell/site logistics for the FOUR. In terms both of the construction aspects of the high-rise development and of the delicately balanced logistics associated with all areas of building in city centers, many of our experiences with the two above projects can also be applied to the FOUR.