Sonnemannstraße

Frankfurt am Main / Germany / 2022

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This residential development is situated on Sonnemannstraße, immediately opposite the main entrance to the European Central Bank headquarters. It consists of a group of four city buildings: two existing late 19th-century buildings flanked by a new construction either side. The two existing buildings were both in a poor state, and still bore evidence of war damage, so extensive renovation was needed. Even before the project began they stood empty – one of them had been gutted by fire. To the right of these existing buildings there was a two-storey building, to the left, on the corner of Windeckstrasse and Sonnemannstraße, was a brownfield site. The corner plot had remained undeveloped because, according to the 1960s development plan setting out building lines, it was intended to provide for a widening of the street. As a result, for decades it could not be built upon. Only when the prospect emerged of the project developer Quartier East extensively renovating the two almost derelict existing buildings, did the city authorities agree, as a concession, to permit development on the corner. This was a stroke of luck for Stefan Forster Architekten – not just because of the prominent location, but also because the practice had already completed two projects on the north and west side of the same city block, namely the Ostendstraße (2009) and Windeckstraße (2016) apartment houses. The Windeckstraße apartment block, built on the site of an old car-repair workshop and distinctive for its clinker-clad loggias and balconies, now connects directly to the new corner building.
The design is guided by the idea of the European city with its lines of differently designed, separately identifiable buildings on individual plots. Accordingly the new buildings adopt the eaves height of the existing buildings, for example, and the motif of the central gable. Because of its prominent position the corner building takes on particular significance. With its material quality, glazing bars and profiled façade, the reddish-brown clinker-brick building consciously echoes the Expressionist architecture of Martin Elsaesser’s wholesale market of 1928, this being one of Frankfurt´s most important large-scale classical modern buildings. In particular the glazed projecting sections with horizontal cornicing are a reference to the design of the staircases on the wings at the ends of the market hall. In the way it aligns with the traditional scale of urban architecture, the Sonnemannstraße housing development is thus one of the few projects that cites the different phases of the city´s history, from historicism to the classical modern, from the building boom of the late 19th century to the present day. In addition to 35 high-end apartments, the building also houses a café on the corner.

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    This residential development is situated on Sonnemannstraße, immediately opposite the main entrance to the European Central Bank headquarters. It consists of a group of four city buildings: two existing late 19th-century buildings flanked by a new construction either side. The two existing buildings were both in a poor state, and still bore evidence of war damage, so extensive renovation was needed. Even before the project began they stood empty – one of them had been gutted by...

    Project details
    • Year 2022
    • Work finished in 2022
    • Client Quartier East GmbH
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Apartments
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