The development of the Europaviertel or Europe Quarter, was begun in 2005 on a site in close proximity to the inner city and the fairground, which had formerly been occupied by the goods and shunting station in Frankfurt. The overarching principle guiding this urban development was to achieve the kind of sustainability that is exemplified by traditional European cities, as places where people live and work, do their shopping, and benefit from the use of recreational, leisure and social amenities.
Situated in the Europaviertel West south of the Boulevard Mitte and to the west of the Emser Bridge the competition site earmarked for the Porsche Design Tower enjoys special advantages thanks to the adjacent parklands towards the south and the prominent water tower, a listed building. The proposal leverages the revitalization of the tower as well as some new design schemes for the open spaces, to enhance the sense of identity and uniqueness of the building design.
The scheme does not approach the Porsche Design Tower as an exercise in composition and addition of different floors and units. Instead the new urban building block combines the different use requirements playfully achieving an elegant symbiosis - which is derived on the one hand from the existing urban development context and on the other from the inner qualities and requirements of a residential building - and melds them with fundamental formal design considerations to create a confident architectural landmark.
150 to 200 upmarket luxury units with generous exterior floor areas, beautiful views and premium quality floor plans offer a mixture of diverse, flexible and complementary apartment concepts of loft-like design. Balconies, loggias, terraces and conservatories in front of every apartment, which in some cases stretch across two floors, add interest to the façade, with the different projections and recesses creating exciting tectonic tension. The key theme here is to allow the gardens to grow and develop vertically from the park beneath. Integrated planted beds for different kinds of grasses and small trees reinforce the idea of a vertical garden. In addition the new building also houses exhibition spaces, an indoor driving range and several smaller office and administrative units.
The main entrance which faces the Boulevard Mitte forms a hiatus in the high rise sculpture and features a wider fore-court, so that the building itself can receive its residents and visitors and invite them in. The modelling of the grounds with their gently sloping lawns, sharp-edged embankments and paths cutting through heightens the artificial character of the park on the former railroad wye. Its underlying radial structure and general topography place the historic water tower at the center of this geometry. An expansive paved surface there is available for the hosting of temporary events. Long, curved seating forms the boundary between the hard surface and the lawns.
The transition between the park and the Porsche Design Tower is marked by an approximately 10 meter wide strip structured by trimmed hedges. This creates a sequence of differently designed spaces – beds with perennials, play areas, green patches of lawn with sculptures and nooks with seating. The hedge-lined strip offers attractive spots which invite people to linger there while at the same time providing discrete distance between the public park and the entrance to the building.
P + B Management GmbH, Sankt Augustin
Behnisch Architekten, Stuttgart
Europa Allee 75 / Emser Brücke
2015, 4th prize