Sustainability in construction

Glass facade

© Robert Metsch

Sustainability in construction takes into account not only environmental issues, technical efficiency and functional requirements, but also urban regeneration and social aspects.

Integrated design process

In 2002, within the framework of the international urban planning and architectural design competition for the new ECB premises, the ECB defined the functional and spatial programme, and set specific targets for energy consumption. It also explained the condition of the site and the surrounding area.

One of the key messages to architects participating in the design competition was the desire for an integrated design process. This means that the architect works together with a structural engineer and an energy and climate designer from the very beginning in order to optimise the energy efficiency and sustainability of a building. The concept for the new ECB premises therefore had to be based on the principles of sustainability and optimal efficiency in the building design, taking into account economic, ecological and social aspects that had to be weighed against future operating costs, maintenance costs and energy consumption. During the competition and at all stages of the evaluation procedure, the energy efficiency of the design and sustainability issues were important considerations.

Urban regeneration

One element of sustainability is urban regeneration. In this respect, the predominantly paved area around the Grossmarkthalle, where lorries used to park and unload, will be converted into a large, landscaped, green area. Together with other parks in the surrounding area – such as the GrünGürtel (Frankfurt’s green belt) and the Mainuferpark (an area of parkland along the banks of the river Main), as well as the nearby Hafenpark (a new park based on the theme of “sport and movement”) and Ostpark (the park in Frankfurt’s Ostend district) – it will contribute to the creation of a “green lung” for the City of Frankfurt.


In summer 2008 preliminary construction works were carried out on the site to prepare the ground for the main construction works. These works started with the removal of soil, which had to be analysed before being transported in order for it to be disposed of in the most environmentally friendly manner possible. The two annexe buildings of the Grossmarkthalle (two four-storey apartment blocks) were then dismantled brick by brick, so that each brick could be cleaned individually and stored for future use in repairing the damaged areas of the Grossmarkthalle’s facade.

The disused railway tracks on the Grossmarkthalle site were carefully removed. Most of them were then sent to the Härtsfeld-Museumsbahn (a railway society in Baden-Württemberg, Germany), which now uses the tracks to run steam train excursions during the summer months.

Sustainability and reuse

The reuse and conversion of the former Grossmarkthalle to form an integral part of the new ECB premises will also contribute to the sustainability of the overall building design. Upon purchasing the site, the ECB agreed that the fundamental appearance of the Grossmarkthalle would be retained. In order to ensure that the Grossmarkthalle is renovated in an appropriate manner, the ECB has worked in close cooperation with all local authorities, in particular the historic preservation authorities and energy conservation authorities of the City of Frankfurt am Main and the State of Hesse. Through this collaboration, it has been possible, for example, to design replacement windows that will be more energy efficient and have a similar profile to the original windows, in line with the requirements of the historic preservation authorities.