Founded in 1914, Bockenheim Campus was the main site of Frankfurt’s Goethe University for almost 100 years. With the move of the social and natural sciences faculties to Westend and Riedberg, the old campus will gradually be given over to new functions by 2022.
Project Name: Bockenheim Campus
Studio Name: Stefan Forster Architekten
Scope: 58 Wohnungen, Supermarkt • 58 apartments, supermarket
Floor area (gross): 7,120 m2
Client: ABG Frankfurt Holding
Project team: Moritz Kaiser, Jelena Duchrow, Zoltan Lepenye, Cristina Naranjo, Wiebke Nolte, Manuel Rhöse, Julia Tamm
Address: Gabriel-Riesser-Weg 12–14, Gräfstraße 94, 60487 Frankfurt am Main
In the early 2000s this was identified as an opportunity to develop a new district at the interface between the traditional districts of Westend and Bockenheim, and to fill it with life. The mayor at the time, Petra Roth, produced a visionary concept for this: the “Bockenheim Cultural Campus”, bringing together renowned cultural institutions such as the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts, the Ensemble Modern and the Forsythe Company in a climate-neutral model district with affordable housing. Although in 2011 the local-authority housing company ABG Frankfurt Holding took the first step in this project by buying the site from the State of Hessen, it is at present unclear whether the “Cultural Campus” will go ahead.
So far the only new construction has been on the northern tip of the former Bockenheim Campus. Commissioned by ABG, this had been intended as the start of the project. The three corner apartment buildings in this residential block were planned by different architectural practices. Stefan Forster Architekten developed a corner building in a prominent location on Carlo-Schmid-Platz with 58 rental apartments and a retail unit. The generous loggias and window fronts on this new building look out on the historic buildings in the immediate environment. Alongside the neighbouring Bockenheim Depot (a former tram depot now used as a venue by the city’s theatres), another very distinctive feature is the Bockenheim Warte, a mediaeval tower and a station of the same name, that occupy a central position.
Towards the square the building opens up with curved balconies that take up the motif of the rounded corner, awakening associations with the architecture of Tel Aviv’s “White City”. An interplay of light and shade characterises the façade design, its distinct sculptural articulation, continuous cornices and rendered moulding re-interpreting the qualities of late 19th-century urban buildings.
The dark clinker-brick base storey references the materiality of Bockenheimer Depot while also, through its differing colouration, maintaining a distance. Constructed to the passive house standard, this residential building offers a mix of subsidised rental apartments and privately financed freehold flats. As such it makes a contribution to social mixing in the district.