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Thread: Frankfurt's New Old Town

  1. #1
    Iskar's Avatar Insanity with Dignity

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    Sep 2013
    Frankfurt, München, somtimes my beloved Rhineland

    Default Frankfurt's New Old Town

    This week the new old town of Frankfurt am Main was (re)opened. Why the oxymoron? Frankfurt's actual old town was thoroughly destroyed in WW2 and the area between the Cathedral and the historical "Römer" townhall was later occupied by a huge brutalist administrative building (the "Technical Townhall").
    Spoiler for Technisches Rathaus

    After its removal construction of the new old town started in 2012, based on the winning submissions in an architectural contest which only had a few restrictions regarding the general size and outline of the houses but did not prescribe historistic design. A couple of houses deemed historically important were reconstructed, the rest are modern adaptions of, variations on and responses to old forms and styles. Here's a couple of pictures I took today:
    There are completely modern ones:

    More or less faithfully reconstructed houses:

    And a couple of interesting ensembles of old and new styles:

    Integration of the few remaining original substance into modern one:

    As well as old styles and materials freely recombined:

    The pre-WW2 layout of roads and squares was kept and new houses had to remain within the confines of the historical buildings previously occupying the lots. The quarter makes for a very interesting visit and I particularly like the integration of old forms and modern architecture.
    As you can see, the streets were crowded with people and there are no shops or cafes yet, so for the time being it makes the impression of an open air architecture exhibition. Whether or not the city will succeed in making this an actual, living part of it, and not just some kind of "disneyland for the educated" will be the crucial point. Some of the fascination also comes from being able to still go everywhere in the quarter and it might lose some of that charm once the houses are actually occupied and you can no longer stroll into every backyard or then-private side-alley.
    If this works out, though, it may be a blueprint for designing city centers beyond slavish reconstruction, uncoordinated laissez-faire city developement and radical Haussman-style redesign.
    Last edited by Iskar; May 10, 2018 at 06:40 PM.
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  2. #2
    Kyriakos's Avatar Praeses
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    Nov 2012
    Thessalonike, The Byzantine Empire

    Default Re: Frankfurt's New Old Town

    This is pretty good... +1
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Frankfurt's New Old Town

    Nothing more horrible than seeing a "classic" building surrounded by cement masses. Good job, Frankfurt.
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  4. #4
    DaVinci's Avatar TW Modder (retired)

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    Apr 2005
    The d(r)ying surface of planet Earth

    Default Re: Frankfurt's New Old Town

    Something is done right, or in other words, i enjoy it, if non-experts take their time to report about a non-familiar field (knowing, you, Iskar, studied Mathematics, iirc.), here the built environment, which is architecture.

    Little hint, Iskar: You could add the persons, their names (lead architects, city/regional planner), who are responsible for the result, or add a link to an official site, where one can find the according info. That belongs usually to the content of such reports.

    What i learned during my architecture-study: Architecture can be seen as the crown of the arts. What makes it special in all the arts? It is the kind of art, that is directly done for humans and directly used by them - as an all-day "product".
    Aka non-used built art (or architecture, if that exists) would be fe. sculpture.
    Industrial design (art) is a similar department, familiar with architecture in this regard, where its products have that all-day usage purpose.
    Else, other arts, its "products", can have a value in itself, as creation-result by humans, which shows just a creative process, and must not have necessarily a concrete purpose, ie. the all-day usage, but adresses our senses. And that is even so relevant and important as cultural achievement(s), and forms and describes the human society and its development.

    It fills me always with sorrow, when certain people argue (i remember also threads on TWC with that direction, ie. demanding the removal of arts from school programs), that art department(s) are non-necessary fields in basic school education, because it apparently (in their mind) has no purpose as preparation for the real world aka when pupils/students have to start their life outside of school/education.
    Last edited by DaVinci; May 11, 2018 at 01:04 PM.
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