High-Rises in Frankfurt

Ask anyone about high-rise buildings in Europe, and they will almost certainly have one thing in mind: Skyscrapers Frankfurt. The booming European metropolis is the only city in Germany which has a skyline of very tall buildings. The Frankfurt skyline has become a landmark in the city over the last 30 years. More than 40 buildings in a fairly small area reach a height of more than 100 meters (328 feet). These include 19 of the 20 tallest skyscrapers in Germany. Here at SKYLINE ATLAS, we explain each one.

Frankfurt and its Skyscrapers

Frankfurt unfolds its beauty by overwhelming and exaggerating. It’s the size of the city, its density, its diversity. Mainhattan today transports favorite clichés of an international city: shaded gorges, never-ending grids, mirrored facades and never-ending perspectives of high-rise towers.

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 Gewerkschaftshaus (built 1930-1931). These three 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 vacant lots everywhere. And the pride of the locals for their city, which was originally a source of identity, was laid to ruins. Because of an increasing concentration of the banks and the resulting economic surge, numerous high-rise buildings of ever greater height emerged from 1949.

The AfE Tower, which was completed in 1972 and demolished on February 2, 2014, was the first high-rise building with a height of more than 100 meters to rise above the Gothic Cathedral Tower for the first time. The Plaza Hotel (Plaza Büro Center) and the former Dresdner-Bank high-rise were the first skyscrapers with a height of more than 150 meters (492 feet) in the late 1970s. These were followed by new high-rise buildings.

Today, the City of Frankfurt uses urban master plans to determine where and how high-rise buildings should be built. Most of the high-rise buildings are located in clusters in the Financial District, along Mainzer Landstrasse and in the European District in close proximity to the exhibition grounds. The skyscrapers from the Palaisquartier in the city center and the new building of the European Central Bank in the Ostend district of Frankfurt are a counter group to these clusters.

For many years, the construction of tall buildings in Frankfurt was controversial. During the Frankfurt House Fights at the beginning of the 1970s, the abusive namesBankfurt” (lit. “banking city”) and “Krankfurt” (lit. “sick city”) emerged to represent the feeling towards the city as a place which promoted the interests of investors at the expense of the old-established population. Since the 1980s, however, Frankfurt skyline has become a symbol of the city and a place of prosperity and future orientation. The inhabitants of Frankfurt increasingly identified themselves with their high-rise buildings, which became more visually appealing. Since 1996, the Skyscraper Festival has been celebrated at irregular intervals (so far, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2007, and 2013).

Today, Frankfurt is Europe’s modern financial and cultural center. In recent years, “Mainhattan” has continued to develop its radiance. This proves quite impressively the ever-increasing numbers of overnight stays from tourists. Thus, the metropolis on the Main river has the most overnight stays per inhabitant in the whole of Germany (according to the newspaper “Die Welt”).

European District in Autumn 2021