• Germany edition
 
Frankfurt begins old town reconstruction
Photo: DPA

Frankfurt begins old town reconstruction

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

Known for its skyscrapers, Frankfurt once had one of Germany’s prettiest Gothic centres. But part of the city’s historic old town destroyed in Allied bombing raids in 1944 is now being partially rebuilt.

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)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

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
Ex-minister jailed over F1 race track scandal
Ingolf Deubel in court on Wednesday. Photo: DPA

Ex-minister jailed over F1 race track scandal

A former state finance minister was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison on Wednesday, having been found guilty of embezzling money in the scandal around the failed sale of the Nürburgring Formula One race track. READ () »

Upper Bavaria boasts lowest EU unemployment
A Bavarian worker works hard Photo: DPA

Upper Bavaria boasts lowest EU unemployment

Southern and central Bavaria have the lowest unemployment in the EU, according to figures released on Tuesday, with one business leader boasting the area has “de facto full employment”. READ () »

Thousands of tax evaders come forward to declare
Uli Hoeneß was jailed last month for tax evasion. Photo: DPA

Thousands of tax evaders come forward to declare

The number of German tax evaders who have self-declared to avoid prosecution trebled in the first quarter of 2014, figures published on Wednesday showed, with the rise put down to the "Uli Hoeneß effect". READ () »

Petition fails to remove WWII Russian tanks
One of the WWII Russian tanks near the Brandenburg Gate. Photo: DPA

Petition fails to remove WWII Russian tanks

The German government rejected on Wednesday a call by two newspapers to remove Russian tanks from a World War II memorial in central Berlin in protest against spiralling tensions in Ukraine. READ () »

Germany warns Ukraine talks must not fail
A Ukrainian policeman at a checkpoint in the eastern city of Kharkiv on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Germany warns Ukraine talks must not fail

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Wednesday that scheduled four-way talks on the Ukraine crisis must not fail, warning of "the threat of more dead and injured". READ () »

Olympic stadium could be giant polling station
Berlin's Olympic Stadium. Photo: DPA

Olympic stadium could be giant polling station

Berlin's Olympic stadium could become the world's biggest polling station if the Turkish community gets the go-ahead to vote there in Turkey’s general elections. READ () »

The Local List
Nine ways to celebrate Easter like a German
Photo: DPA

Nine ways to celebrate Easter like a German

From rolling wheels filled with burning hay down a hill, to waiting for a fox to bring eggs, The Local List this week looks at the nine best German Easter traditions. READ () »

Biology pupils find horse in kebab meat test
Horse? Photo: DPA

Biology pupils find horse in kebab meat test

Schoolchildren in western Germany came across horse meat while testing doner kebabs in a biology experiment. It comes a year after the horse meat scandal which showed much meat on sale in Europe had been mislabelled. READ () »

Private health insurance not worth it for workers
Photo: DPA

Private health insurance not worth it for workers

Thousands of employees paying into private health insurance in Germany get poor value for money, according to consumer experts - who recommend going private for just one group of workers. READ () »

'Free range' chicken farmer tricks customers
Free range? Photo: DPA

'Free range' chicken farmer tricks customers

UPDATE: A major producer of ethically certifified meat has admitted to defrauding thousands of customers for years by passing off conventional chicken as free range. But the brand said it took swift action to deal with the case. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: Galerie Bilderwelt
Gallery
World War I in colour photos
Photo: DPA
Society
'The mafia has infiltrated every sector in Germany'
Photo: DPA
Society
JobTalk: Why you should teach English in Germany
Photo: DPA
National
330,000 sign up against TV licence fee
Photo: DPA
Hamburg
School kids hospitalized after 'porno' party
Photo: Submitted
Frankfurt
'I'll get even with my old pal Schwarzenegger'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The week in pictures: April 5th - April 11th
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten great inventions you (probably) didn't know were German
Photo: J. Arthur White
Berlin
Clashes in Berlin as refugees tear down their own camp
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Munich's baby polar bears are finally named
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The 10 best German employers to work for
CurrencyFair
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Advertisement:
Mr. Lodge
Sponsored Article
How to find a furnished rental in Munich
Sponsored Article
How to make a lasting impression in business
Hult International Business School
Sponsored Article
What they don't teach you at Business School
Photo: DPA
Society
Nine jobs you can only do in Germany
Photo:ESL
Sponsored Article
How to integrate successfully in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

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

3,115
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd