Opening Hours and Contact
Frankfurt Planning Department
Frankfurt City Model (in the atrium)
60311 Frankfurt (Germany)
Monday to Friday:
8.30AM until 6PM
(on working days)
free of charge, access without registration in advance
A special attraction in Frankfurt is the city model in the planning department. It is interesting for visitors and locals, because you can experience the city development in Frankfurt up close: an area of 54 square meters (9.60 x 5.60 meters) is showing a current section of the Frankfurt city center on both sides of the Main river. This section includes both completed buildings and planned buildings. Also, the city crown (the remarkable high-rise cluster of the Banking District) is shown in the city model.
The Frankfurt city model was built on a scale of 1:500. 2 millimeters in the model correspond to 1 meter in reality. Already in 1960, the foundation for today’s city model was laid in the planning department. Originally started as a “working model”, the model has evolved continuously from many single components. Therefore, the city model in the Frankfurt City Planning Office is no longer just a working model, but an impressive exhibition model. It attracts thousands of visitors every year. And for good reasons: after all, admission is free and the planning department is easily reachable.
The model’s base plate does not contain any topography because of the generally low height differences at the given area. City planners, architects and investors use the city model to visualize urban planning or to weigh up aspects such as shading.
The city model is being built by the model workshop of the City of Frankfurt. In the model workshop different models are worked out where a great variety of materials are used. However, all models have one thing in common: they always correspond to the exact size and scale of the individual objects in their respective size proportions.
In order that construction projects and realized buildings are mapped to the correct scale, coordination takes place with various offices, such as the construction supervision (information from original building files) and the city surveying office. Thanks to a GIS (geographic information systems), work on city models can now be done very accurately and swiftly.
Model of High-Rise Developments
In the atrium of the planning department you will not only find the city model itself. Here visitors also find a model for the high-rise development plan issued in 2008, developed for an urban design study by the architectural firm Jourdan & Müller PAS. The model vividly shows how the city of Frankfurt should have developed – seen from the perspective of recent years. Most of the planned skyscrapers in this city model were then realized. But not all: projects such as the Millennium Tower or the MAX skyscraper tower were never built.
At irregular intervals the planning department also holds exhibitions in the foyer. In particular, the competition results of architectural competitions are exhibited here. So it usually pays off to visit the planning department.
No Current Planning Status
The city model does not follow a stringent update interval. On the one hand there are buildings that have not existed for many years (like the former Poseidon Haus), on the other hand there are completed buildings missing like ONE FORTY WEST. The high-rise of the Grand Central project is already included in the model, although construction work is likely to be a long time coming. The Spin, FOUR, EDEN, Great East and the Harborpark Quarter are also currently missing. (As of 07/2020)
Different Manufacturing Methods
When creating new building models, the most varied of materials have been used over the decades. As a rule, the models are produced by the model workshop itself. However, there are cases in which the client or architect provides the City of Frankfurt with a corresponding tower model. However, it also happens that external providers create models according to specifications.
In the Frankfurt city model, which is kept entirely in light gray, there are also some buildings in brown or white. These come from an early planning phase and, due to the lack of time, could not be adapted to the uniform appearance by the model workshop so far.
While in the past the model buildings were all made by hand, new technology is now also moving into the model building. The model shop has a 3D printer that prints out most of the new buildings.
New High-Rise Model
The model workshop is currently building a new city model based for the upcoming high-rise master plan 2021. This will also include new high-rise locations. The new high-rise model has the scale 1: 2000 and the dimensions 1.20 by 3 meters. It is therefore larger than the previous model (1 x 2 meters).
The model is expected to be completed by the end of 2020, but the official presentation will take place in 2021. The model for the new high-rise development plan for 2021 is to be exhibited in the atrium of the city planning office after the official presentation.