Façade: The striking façade of the tower has made it a landmark on the skyline and one of the most prominent high-rises of the city. The triangular windows create a multitude of reflections, making it constantly change colour and transparency.
Client: Westhafen Tower GmbH & Co Projektentwicklungs KG, Frankfurt/Main
Typology: Office/administration buildings
Gross floor area: 30,609 m²
Project architect: Michael Schumacher
Building Period: 2000-2003
Frankfurt/Main is well known for its skyline, being the German city with the most skyscrapers. Therefore the city is often referred to as “Mainhattan”, hinting the resemblance to the Manhattan Skyline while also pointing out the city’s location at the river Main. The Westhafen Tower marks one of the main entry points of Frankfurt as well as the Westhafen Area.
Its circular footprint makes maximum use of the floor area while minimizing the area of the façade (this is due to the geometric ratio of area to circumference in a circle) whereas the square shaped floor plates inside the circle create an optimum in efficiency. About 80% of the gross floor area is to let. The superimposition of circle and square creates four-storey atrium spaces which can be used as winter gardens. They serve as thermal buffer zones and further give the possibility to internally connect the floors inside these interstices. Thus a secondary circulation system can be established independent of the escape stairs located inside the core.
Above ground the building consists of a reception area on the ground floor, 28 office floors and a double height technical floor. The central core holds all vertical circulation, services, sanitary – and meeting rooms and is surrounded by flexible office space which permits cellular as well as open plan office fit out. Underground the core of the building, holding more services and storage space, is surrounded by a spiralling parking garage.
The structure of the building is made of in-situ concrete with concrete-filled steel columns. The façade is generated by prefabricated elements, two triangular panels forming one element. The triangular windows can be opened to supply natural ventilation to the offices, either through the winter gardens, or directly through the façade. This is the case at the corners of the square floor plates where the office space extends to the outer skin. The floor to ceiling high glazing achieves a maximum in transparency.
On the top office floor triangular cut outs perforate the tilted concrete ceiling. They crown the top of the building, a widely visible sign at night.
Due to its cylinder shape and the triangular windows, the Westhafen Tower is reminiscent of an apple wine glass. Apple wine is a very popular drink in the region. This association makes the Westhafen Tower an even more important building as it embodies the tradition of the city.
Till Schneider & Michael Schumacher
Till Schneider and Michael Schumacher founded schneider+schumacher in Frankfurt/Main. This year they are celebrating their 30th birthday! Their legendary information box, erected shortly after reunification on what was then the largest construction site in Berlin, brought the office worldwide recognition. Since then, more than 100 buildings, urban development projects and numerous product designs have emerged. The office’s spectrum ranges from housing to industrial buildings, a highway church to high-rises, and from museum work to a particle accelerator. Award-winning architectural and urban development schemes include the Frankfurt Westhafen, an extension to the historic Städel Museum as well as the Autobahn Church Siegerland. Most recent accolades include the extension of the Mannheim Business School, the gold-coloured DOXX in Mainz, designed with bb22, the wooden Frankfurt Pavilion especially designed for the Frankfurt book fair and the lately awarded residential building called „Max & Moritz” www.schneider-schumacher.de