• Germany's news in English
 

Frankfurt begins old town reconstruction

Published: 17 Feb 2012 07:10 GMT+01:00

A total of 35 new buildings are planned for the area between the cathedral and The Römer – Frankfurt’s town hall and one of its most important architectural landmarks. At least eight of these will be exact replicas of the historic buildings destroyed in the Second World War while 15 will be a mix of old and new.

So far €130 million in government funding has been invested in the project, which will is expected to reach completion in 2016. Many buildings have already been purchased even though the symbolic cornerstone was only laid last month.

But opinion on the project remains split between those wanting a wanting a complete reconstruction of the Frankfurt Altstadt, or old town, and others fearing it will be historic Disneyland.

Click here for a photo gallery of Frankfurt's Altstadt

The city council hopes its compromise for at least some reconstructed structures will help return life to Frankfurt’s centre following the demolition two years ago of an ugly concrete office complex built on the site in the 1970s.

Initial plans for the prime property caused an uproar among those Frankfurters deeming it too modern. In an attempt to appease residents, the city council threw open their doors to the public in 2006 and invited them to offer their ideas on changes to the plans.

In 2007, amended blueprints were finalised much to the delight of the campaign group Altstadt-Forum Frankfurt (AFF), which had been pushing for a complete reconstruction of what they described as “one of the most beautiful old towns in Germany.”

The AFF is an initiative made up of Frankfurt-based societies, property and marketing experts and active community members who joined together with the aim of making the idea of rebuilding the old town reality.

And while the chairman Jürgen E. Aha originally told property magazine Immobilien Zeitung in 2010 that he was “pleased with the compromise,” the plans for the 27 buildings which are not going to be historical replicas have left the group less than impressed.

“The new buildings will look like dog kennels or provincial savings banks,” Aha recently lamented.

Whether an exact replica or somewhere in between, buildings in the “DomRömer” quarter, as it is being called, have to follow strict regulations. Sandstone is being used for the ground floor of every building and upper floors must be plastered or panelled with wood. Even window and roof dimensions must fit certain criteria.

The area itself will be arranged in a similar way to the original old town, with narrow alleyways running between buildings and a central square.

The architects, together with the council, hope it will bring a touch of history to the modern city centre, but Philipp Oswalt, director of design group Bauhaus foundation, has labelled the project “absurd and peculiar.”

“The designs for the replica buildings look like leftovers from a Christmas market,” he said.

DPA/The Local/jcw

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

20:32 February 17, 2012 by iseedaftpeople
kind of ironic -

Frankfurt is one of Germany's wealthiest post-war cities, and yet, it appears to have been fairly late at considering doing what other German cities already did ten or twenty years ago, restore their old town districts to their former glory.

I guess Frankfurt's ridiculously overpaid bankers and hedge fund managers were simply too busy lining their own pockets all those years...
21:25 February 17, 2012 by catjones
I think it was Branson, Missouri or was it Anaheim, CA that did the Frankfurt thing? Anyway, I like fake, reproductions from China. Could you please add a little pseudo-soot to the buildings? The nineteenth century has a bigger draw than the 21st, but with coax running thru the walls, who'd know the difference?
Today's headlines
Wolf spotted in North Rhine-Westphalia
File photo: DPA

Wolf spotted in North Rhine-Westphalia

Camera traps have spotted a wolf for the second time in a month in North Rhine-Westphalia, the state environment ministry reported on Friday. READ  

German ranchers murdered in Paraguay
Paraguayan police on patrol in an area known to contain EPP rebels. File photo: DPA

German ranchers murdered in Paraguay

The Foreign Ministry in Berlin confirmed that two Germans living in Paraguay were kidnapped and killed earlier this week. READ  

AfD braces for busy conference weekend
"Vote AfD!" reads the flyover message. Photo: DPA

AfD braces for busy conference weekend

As leaders of the Germany's anti-Euro upstart party Alternative for Germany (AfD) prepare for its party conference this weekend, the potential for chaos is rising. READ  

Sudden dose of winter causes traffic chaos
Snow in Oberharz. Photo: DPA

Sudden dose of winter causes traffic chaos

UPDATE: Two people were rescued from avalanches as a blast of winter has taken Germany by surprise, while snow and ice accounted for several traffic accidents across the country on Friday. READ  

BND collects 220 million phone records a day
Photo: DPA

BND collects 220 million phone records a day

Germany's foreign intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) collects 220 million pieces of information about foreign phone calls and SMS every day, Zeit Online reported on Friday. READ  

U-turn on minimum wage for foreign drivers
Photo: DPA

U-turn on minimum wage for foreign drivers

Germany temporarily hit the brakes Friday on applying its new minimum wage to foreign truck drivers transiting the country in a move welcomed by Poland, which vigorously opposed the system. READ  

Crises make Germany EU foreign policy leader
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Photo: DPA

Crises make Germany EU foreign policy leader

Foreign policy think-tank the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) gave Germany top marks in its annual check-up of EU member states released on Thursday. READ  

Prost! Beer sales hop up for first gain in 8 years
Photo: DPA

Prost! Beer sales hop up for first gain in 8 years

New figures released Friday by federal statistics office Destatis are numbers breweries can drink to, as German beer consumption saw its first year-on-year rise since 2006. READ  

Germany has thousands of uni spots open
Photo: DPA

Germany has thousands of uni spots open

New research published by Spiegel on Friday shows that there are thousands of university placesa unoccupied across the country, while certain hot spots cope with too much demand. READ  

Borussia coach admits to 'downward spiral'
Borussia Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp at a press conference. Photo: DPA

Borussia coach admits to 'downward spiral'

Borussia Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp admits feeling the pressure as his side resume their fight to stay in Germany's top flight on Saturday at fellow Champions League side Bayer Leverkusen. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Business & Money
FATCA: 'The age of financial privacy is over'
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
The rise and spread of Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Photo: DPA
Politics
The Local's report from Pegida's largest ever demonstration.
Sponsored Article
Top-notch tech boosts bilingual schools
National
Six stories that will rock Germany this year
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Photo: DPA
National
What were your favourite news stories of 2014?
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,462
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd