• 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

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
'German' hand grenades paraded by Isis in Syria
A screen grab from a jihadist video showing the grenades. Photo: DPA

'German' hand grenades paraded by Isis in Syria

The German military was on Wednesday investigating reports that Bundeswehr hand grenades have fallen into the hands of the Islamic State (Isis) terrorist group after a video appearing to show captured weapons surfaced on the Internet. READ  

North braces for storms and floods
Early signs of flooding at the Hamburg fish market on Wednesday morning.

North braces for storms and floods

The remnants of hurricane Gonzalo have drifted across the Atlantic and are now threatening North German cities with flooding, forecasters warned on Wednesday. READ  

Indian schools drop German teaching
Indian pupils enrolled in German classes prepare for Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier's visit to their school. Photo: DPA

Indian schools drop German teaching

Thousands of children in India will no longer be taught German after the country's education ministry allowed a contract to lapse. READ  

Syria-bound US teens stopped in Frankfurt
A passenger plane landing at Frankfurt airport. Photo: DPA

Syria-bound US teens stopped in Frankfurt

Three teenage girls from Colorado were arrested by German police at Frankfurt airport after running away from home, reportedly on their way to join Isis in Syria. READ  

Tourists stranded on cable car over Rhine
Tuesday night's rescue operation Photo: DPA

Tourists stranded on cable car over Rhine

Six people, including a family and two American tourists, were left dangling 40 metres in the air over the Rhine for hours late on Tuesday after Cologne's cable car came to a halt. READ  

7:1! Bayern celebrate record in Rome
Arjen Robben celebrates the first goal against AS Roma. Photo: DPA

7:1! Bayern celebrate record in Rome

Bayern Munich were elated on Tuesday night after seuring a 7-1 victory against Roma in their group stage Champions League clash. READ  

Nazi U-boat wreck found off US coast
A preserved World War II U-Boat on the beach near Kiel, Germany. Photo: DPA

Nazi U-boat wreck found off US coast

A World War II German U-boat and an American merchant vessel it sank in battle have been found deep in the ocean off the coast of North Carolina, officials said on Tuesday. READ  

Fourth time lucky for free Berlin WiFi?
Coming soon? Photo: DPA

Fourth time lucky for free Berlin WiFi?

Berlin's bid to set up a free city-wide wireless network has so far come to nothing. But city bosses are now trying for a fourth time - and hope to have the project running next year. READ  

Opinion
Do German unions have too much power?
Lufthansa passengers rush to change their flights at Frankfurt Airport on Monday. Photo: DPA

Do German unions have too much power?

Germany's pilots and train drivers are taking it in turns to bring the country to a standstill with strikes that have cost the economy tens of millions of euros in the last two weeks. Are unions abusing their power or standing up for their rights? READ  

Older workers can have extra days off, court says
Photo: Workers in a German shoe factory. Photo: DPA

Older workers can have extra days off, court says

Older workers in Germany are allowed more time off than younger ones, a court ruled on Tuesday, saying the difference was not discriminatory. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Robbers blow up Berlin bank
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: Facebook
Society
German motorcycle gang joins Isis fight
Photo: DPA
Politics
UKIP ‘seeks EU pact’ with German satirical party
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: World's biggest erotic fair opens in Berlin
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Sponsored Article
International School on the Rhine: a legacy
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The ten richest people in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
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

3,488
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd