If you’re flying into Frankfurt, staying an hour or a week, you’ll see a unique skyscraper in the east, set apart from the cluster of towers in Frankfurt’s financial area. Welcome to the new European Central Banking Headquarters.
The construction of the very stylish, angular bright blue glassed skyscraper, began on the site of the Grossmarkethalle, or in English known as the Hypermarket Hall, or even simpler, The Great Market Hall. It can still be seen when travelling along the River Main, though it is somewhere over-shadowed by the new ECB tower.
The Grossmarkethalle was built in 1928, survived the war (probably because it wouldn’t burn like the old Medieval flammable centre of old town Frankfurt) and until 2004 was a commercial fruit and vegetable supermarket. It is over two hundred metres long and fifty metres wide, making it the largest iron-concrete building in the world. It was nick-named by the locals as the “vegie-church”, thanks to its cavernous interior.
Now the Grossmarkethalle is integrated with the future head office of the European Central Bank.
The new ECB building is a double-twisted skyscraper, and although it looks like one building, it is in fact two.
The two office towers are structured on a reinforced concrete frame. The north tower has 45 floors and the south tower 43. Steel trusses and connecting platforms in the atrium (there’s lots of free-fall space) bridge the two towers and create, along with the facade of blue steely glass, a single, though partially twisted, tower.
It is a grandeur to appreciate, regardless of your peculiar economic philosophy and political leanings. Until the construction is finished and the ECB relocation complete, you can of course take a virtual tour of the new ECB Headquarters.