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European Central Bank launches international architectural competition

26 November 2002

The European Central Bank (ECB) has launched an international urban planning and architectural design competition for its new premises. The purpose of this competition is to identify the best design concepts for the ECB's future home and to select an architect to carry out the detailed planning work for the new premises and, if possible, to implement the project.

The new premises are to be built on the site of the Großmarkthalle (wholesale market) – an area of 120,000 m2 on the river in the eastern part of Frankfurt am Main – which the ECB purchased from the City of Frankfurt in March 2002. The site will be developed to accommodate 2,500 workplaces, with office space and special areas covering a main usable area of approximately 100,000 m2, plus all the necessary parking areas and technical facilities.

The competition is open to architects from all over the world and the deadline for applications is 20 January 2003. An open call for candidature has been published in the Official Journal of the European Communities and on the ECB's website. Interested architects should submit their applications in accordance with the requirements set out in the call for candidature. The competition will be organised as a restricted project competition in two phases following a pre-selection of qualified applicants. Eighty architects from among the interested applicants will be invited to participate in the first phase, which will be to develop initial outline design concepts. These design concepts must take into account the fact that the Großmarkthalle is a listed building.

A jury composed of internationally renowned architects and representatives of the City of Frankfurt and the European System of Central Banks (ESCB) will then short-list 12 candidates to be admitted to the second phase.

The jury is composed of the following people:

On behalf of the ESCB

Lucas Papademos, Vice-President of the ECB (Chairperson); Liam Barron, Director General of the Central Bank of Ireland; Sirkka Hämäläinen, Member of the Executive Board of the ECB; Yves Mersch, Governor of the Banque centrale du Luxembourg; Hanspeter K. Scheller, Director General Administration of the ECB; Ernst Welteke, President of the Deutsche Bundesbank.

On behalf of the City of Frankfurt

Edwin Schwarz, City Councillor responsible for town planning.

External architects

Françoise-Hélène Jourda, Paris/France (Vice-Chairperson); Oriol Bohigas, Barcelona/Spain; Kees Christiaanse, Rotterdam/Netherlands; Massimiliano Fuksas, Rome/Italy; Michael Wilford, London/United Kingdom.

The following people have been appointed as alternates to the above jury members:

On behalf of the ESCB

Hans Georg Fabritius, Member of the Executive Board of the Deutsche Bundesbank; Klaus Gressenbauer, Director Planning and Controlling of the ECB; Brian Halpin, Deputy Director General of the Central Bank of Ireland; Thomas Rinderspacher, Head of Premises Division of the ECB; Fernand Yasse, Head of Organisation and Risk Management of the Banque centrale du Luxembourg.

On behalf of the City of Frankfurt

Dirk Zimmermann, Head of the Town Planning department.

External architects

Craig Dykers, Oslo/Norway; Martha Schwartz, Boston/United States.

The 12 candidates who are admitted to the second phase will be asked to present detailed architectural design concepts for all the buildings. At the end of the second phase, the jury will select three prizewinning designs. A total of EUR 700,000 has been allocated to cover the fees of all 12 candidates participating in the second phase plus the prize money for the three winning designs. It is expected that the jury will make its decision, and thus prizes will be awarded, in the first quarter of 2004.

Detailed information on the competition can be found in the Official Journal of the European Communities and on the ECB's website at


European Central Bank

Directorate General Communications

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