Plans for glass palace in Frankfurt altered

21st February 2007, Comments 0 comments

21 February 2007, Frankfurt (dpa) - The European Central Bank (ECB) unveiled fresh details of its landmark new headquarters building in Frankfurt: a slanted skyscraper in glass built above an old fruit and vegetable market. Bank governors are to set interest rates for the euro currency from a bug-proof meeting room in the building, but much of the site will be walled with glass to symbolize the bank's wish for transparency. The Viennese architecture bureau which won a competition to design the new headquar

21 February 2007

Frankfurt (dpa) - The European Central Bank (ECB) unveiled fresh details of its landmark new headquarters building in Frankfurt: a slanted skyscraper in glass built above an old fruit and vegetable market.

Bank governors are to set interest rates for the euro currency from a bug-proof meeting room in the building, but much of the site will be walled with glass to symbolize the bank's wish for transparency.

The Viennese architecture bureau which won a competition to design the new headquarters described Tuesday the changes it had made at the request building of the central bank and the city of Frankfurt, which took umbrage at plans to demolish parts of the old indoor market.

City authorities offered the riverside site to the ECB on condition that it preserve the concrete sheds where produce had been auctioned by farmers and importers since the 1930s. The market's grating-pattern brick facade has been integrated into the design.

Wolf Prix of the Coop Himmelb(l)au design bureau said he had sought to unite "transparency, efficiency and stability" in the design.

The centrepiece of the site will be a 185-metre-high office building comprising two slanting towers that not only intertwine but are slightly wider at the top than at the base. They will be joined by interior bridges and green modules described as "hanging gardens."

The indoor market alongside it will be renovated and used for conferences and a staff restaurant. A separate building which Coop dubbed the "groundscraper" has been eliminated from the plan. Prix was philosophical about the changes.

"A competition winner is never built to the exact design which won the competition," he said. Dozens of architects from around the globe had sought the commission for what has been described as the euro palace, embodying the prestige of one of the world's main currencies.

The design is now in a form to apply for a building permit, but more fine-tuning is expected before the complex opens in 2012.

The bankers will gain a stunning view from the top of the Main river and Frankfurt's downtown skyscrapers.

Insulation of the outside the building will be improved compared to the original design to save energy, and heat from the computer centre will be channelled into the building instead of being vented off.

The entire project is expected to cost 500 million euros (650 million dollars).

The ECB said it would not have any perimeter fence round the site.

"We don't want it to be a fortress," said Lorenzo Bini Samghi, the governor overseeing the building plans.

Currently the ECB has 1,300 Frankfurt staff working in three separate buildings.

Internet: www.ecb.int/ecb/premises www.new-ecb-premises.com

DPA

Subject: German news

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