The Grossmarkthalle was built between 1926 and 1928 according to the design of Martin Elsaesser, Director of Town Planning for the City of Frankfurt am Main during the period 1925 32. With a length of 220 m, a width of 50m and a maximum height of 23.50 m, it housed the wholesale fruit and vegetable market, which served not only Frankfurt but also the entire Rhine-Main region.
The Grossmarkthalle was used by Frankfurt’s wholesalers from 1928 up to 2004, when they moved out to the Frischezentrum in the north-west of the city.
The Grossmarkthalle, a state-of-the-art functional building from the classical modern era, has been a recognised cultural monument since 1972. It was built with a new type of structural framework that made it the largest free-spanning prestressed reinforced concrete hall in the world at that time.
Three different elements
The entire Grossmarkthalle site originally comprised the following three elements:
The Grossmarkthalle itself was a market hall with an eight-storey wing building at either end. The western wing building housed the wholesalers’ offices and checkout area, while the eastern wing building contained additional stalls and cold storage rooms.
The two wing buildings were linked to four-storey annexe buildings which were split into restaurants, flats and the customs area.
On the south side of the hall, there were a number of railway tracks, as the bulk of goods, in particular tropical fruits, were delivered by train. It wasn’t until a few decades ago that they started to be delivered by road.
In line with the preservation order, the restoration work to be carried out on the Grossmarkthalle and the two wing buildings will not affect the fundamental appearance of the buildings. They will be carefully restored and remain distinctive components of the site’s design. The restoration work will also resurrect certain construction elements that have been concealed over time. Prior to the handover of the site to the ECB, the Importhalle and other smaller buildings, which were in a poor state of repair, were pulled down.
At the time of its construction, the Grossmarkthalle was the largest columnless reinforced concrete hall in the world. The roof structure of the main hall consists of 15 concrete shells resting on reinforced concrete columns. The concrete shells, constructed according to the Zeiss-Dywidag method, span over a 15 m width and a 43.50 m length. At their vertex, they are only 7.50 cm thick.
The longitudinal facades of the hall consist mainly of glazed concrete grid structures; the facades at the ground floor level, as well as of the wing buildings, were built in contemporary brick.