EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK - ECB

Cities: FRANKFURT
Countries: GERMANY
Designer: COOP HIMMELB(L)AU
Date: 2017
The location for the new headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt’s Ostend district has the potential of adding a new landmark to the Frankfurt skyline that will be visible at great distances. 
At a height of around 185 meters, the double tower, with its polygonal shape and east-west orientation, has a striking profile that is visible from all important reference points in Frankfurt’s city center, as well as from the river Main. Thanks to its form and presence, the double tower will become a characteristic feature of the Frankfurt skyline. 
The imposing form of the Grossmarkthalle (wholesale market), which so strongly characterizes Frankfurt’s skyline and the north bank of the river Main, unites with the vertical profile of the towers to form a significant ensemble that considers both the local urban design environment and the general urban spatial context, thus creating a tension between Frankfurt’s banking district and the Ostend area. By concentrating the ECB’s functions in the Grossmarkthalle, the south side of the premises, facing the Main, can be largely kept free of construction. The prominent view of the south side of the hall from the Main embankment with the clearly visible profile of the high-rise emphasizes its special position. 
The tower ensemble is the result of a design process inspired by the urban links with the city of Frankfurt. Owing to its clear orientation towards the important urban perspectives, the ensemble enters into a dialogue with the important urban reference points in Frankfurt: the Alte Oper, the Museumsufer and the financial district. Starting with the economical typology of a double-slab high-rise, a second design step combines the urban planning specifications with the geometric transformation of the towers, in order to generate a multi-faceted building structure while preserving its urban significance. 
The space between the two towers is a glassed-in foyer with an exchange platform and bridges, forming an ideal vertical city with its own streets and squares and making the building an unusual skyscraper. 

Photo credits: Robert Metsch, Paul Raftery.
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