Developers in Germany are currently rediscovering the residential high-rise as a modern, high-quality building type. At the same time, the format has to be adapted to the relevant urban context and “reinvented” as it were.
Project Name: AXIS high rise Apartments
Studio Name: Meixner Schlüter Wendt
Design Team: Mario Grote, Joost Rebske (both project architects), Elisabeth Klein, Stefan Mayer-Twiehaus, Friederike Sartor, Tim Waidelich, Michael Hennings
Area: Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Location: Europa-Allee 165, 60486 Frankfurt; 50.10738831623437, 8.623978654175577
Consultants: plan°D (landscape architects), Bollinger + Grohmann (structural engineers)
Photography Credits: Christoph Kraneburg, Norbert Miguletz, Meixner Schlüter Wendt
Located at the western end of the Europa Allee, this residential building occupies a rather special position between the urban space and the countryside. What’s more, its high-rise nature emphasizes its presence within the city’s fabric. The architects made a conscious choice to ensure the main body of the building does not seem like a standalone development. Rather, it continues the urban context and slots into it, developing into its own independent structure in keeping with its special position.
As you approach the Europa Allee, the high-rise forms a clearly defined slab: Its western front appears like a tall, slender prelude to the Allee, while along Eppenhainer Strasse the building emulates the perimeter-block style of the surrounding developments. To the south, townhouses are incorporated into the overall plans, and these take their cue from the existing terraced housing to the south.
By quite literally “elevating” the surrounding structures in a literal sense, the building forms an “urban context high-rise” that plays with the ambivalence of urban contours and individual landscaped housing and open spaces, consciously transferring these into two distinct views or “faces” of the building.
On the outside, the flat façade clad in white limestone presents a monolithic, contemporary shape. At the same time the playful design of the window openings, which extend over two floors, creates a nuanced grid structure that makes it hard to distinguish the individual levels and toys with perceptions of the building’s scale.
In contrast to the smooth, urban outer façade of the building ring, the inside forms a soft, polygonal and richly varied structure. Individual incisions to create balconies on each and every level ensure a world of balconies and loggias offering any number of ways of being used. Extensive glass façades for the living spaces also provide for a smooth transition from inside to outside, while broad, permanently installed plant pots incorporated right up to the top floors ensure plentiful greenery in the outside areas.
The perimeter block style makes it possible to combine the qualities of classic residential floor plans with the advantages of a high-rise. Here, the architects have ensured that the floor plans are oriented towards as many sides as possible to create a high-quality sense of being part of everything thanks to the clear views in all directions. In keeping with the complex mix of typologies and its multipurpose façades, the building also contains a variety of housing formats: Ranging from terraced houses with gardens to classic apartments with between two and five rooms and even a penthouse, the high-rise offers a mixture of big-city living for a high quality of urban life. Semi-public areas like the entrance hall and the direct link to a large public park also provide for plenty of quality time for the community.
Use of sustainable technology and a sustainable energy balance were also one of the premises of the planning. Hence, AXIS is one of the first projects in Frankfurt to incorporate a heat recovery system from waste-water and to be planned in line with the KFW-55 standard (previously not common for high-rises).
MEIXNER SCHLÜTER WENDT
MEIXNER SCHLÜTER WENDT was established in 1997 in Frankfurt/Main by its partners Claudia Meixner, Florian Schlüter and Martin Wendt. The team currently consists of some 40 architects who, depending on the assignments they are working on, are assisted by a wide network of external specialists and expert planners.
The team develops project-specific solutions that take the respective contextual parameters firmly into account. Before planning starts, intense research is conducted into the given conditions and factors. Complex concepts are then developed through feasibility studies, competitions and projects with a view to reflecting on the space activating it for perception and social interaction.
The architecture practice’s activities embrace conceptualization, planning, and the realization of architectural projects of all types and sizes: Urban structures, single-family dwellings, residential and office buildings – also as high-rises, hotels, educational buildings such as schools and daycare centers, cultural buildings, churches, exhibitions and spatial installations.
MEIXNER SCHLÜTER WENDT’s designs have received numerous national and international awards and has been the subject of numerous exhibitions, for example, at the Venice Architecture Biennales in 2004, 2006 and 2012.