Frankfurt in the Past

The oldest tall buildings in Frankfurt are the Mousonturm (built 1923-1926), the I.G. Farben House (built 1928-1931, today the main building of the Goethe University) and the Trade Union House (built 1930-1931). These three high-rise buildings are up to 35 meters (115 feet) high and stand even to this day. Nowadays, though, these are no longer perceived as high-rise buildings, when compared with those being built today.

Until the Second World War, the historic Old Town was a landmark of the city, with its many small and winding streets; the residents of Frankfurt were very proud of it. The destruction of Frankfurt’s inner city by the air raids in the Second World War resulted in empty buildings everywhere, and the pride of the Frankfurters, which was originally a source of identity, was laid to ruins. From 1949, on account of the concentration of the banks and the resulting economic surge, there emerged numerous high-rise buildings of ever greater height.

The AfE Tower, which was completed in 1972 and demolished in 2014, was the first high-rise building with a height of more than 100 meters (328 feet) to rise above the Gothic Cathedral Tower for the first time. The Plaza Hotel (Plaza Büro Center) and the former Dresdner-Bank-Hochhaus were the first skyscrapers with a height of more than 150 meters in the late 1970s. These were followed by new high-rise buildings.

The picture shows the Bockenheimer Landstrasse in 1976 and represents the change that the Westend district gone through. All visible high-rise buildings in this picture no longer exist in this way: these properties were either demolished or converted.

Frankfurt am Main in 1986 - high-rise buildings in the past - photographed by Frank Reuter

The skyline in 1986: even then, Frankfurt was considered Germany’s high-rise city. At that time, Deutsche Bank’s twin towers dominated the Financial District.

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