Maintor WinX, Frankfurt/Main
How did we transform an old company grounds into a vibrant downtown quarter?
Despite its ideal downtown location, the former Degussa grounds were for many years closed to locals. The busy CBD, Frankfurt’s Old Town, and the riverbank, so perfect for a stroll, were somehow separate parts of town. Visually speaking, the squat 1960s buildings along the river contrasted sharply with the higher skyline in the immediate vicinity of Willy Brandt Platz. So how to meaningfully upgrade the grounds in terms of pathways and architectural composition?
The surroundings are very promising, which is why it seemed obvious to us to develop a new urban quarter with mixed usages: offices, retail, and apartments. We opened up the formerly closed-off grounds, restored the historical pathways, and forged a link between Willy Brandt Platz with the Schauspielhaus, on the one hand, and the riverside promenade, on the other. The small alleys and covered arcades help harmoniously integrate the new quarter into the urban fabric, creating space for public life between homes, offices, and hospitality outlets.
In terms of its silhouette, the WinX office tower is the new quarter’s landmark. About 110 meters high, it connects the lower-lying office buildings on the riverside with the soaring bank high-rises downtown. Its glass aluminum skin stands out from the otherwise predominantly natural stone facades around it. The slight curve in its longitudinal axis gives it a sense of grace. The x-shaped footprint that gives it its name gives rise to a tower with no rear side, accessible via several entrances, both facing the street and from the central plaza in the quarter. A perfect realization of the concept of all-round accessibility for the new quarter.