PRESS RELEASE

International jury chooses the three prizewinning designs in the architectural competition for the ECB's new premises

13 February 2004

Today an international jury chaired by the ECB’s Vice-President Lucas Papademos has chosen the three winning designs in the international urban planning and architectural design competition for the new ECB premises in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. This concludes the second and final phase of the design competition.

The prizes have been awarded as follows:

1st prize: Coop Himmelb(l)au, Vienna, Austria

This concept has an intelligent combination of old and new in a sculptural form. The ensemble is formed from three basic elements: the Grossmarkthalle, a “groundscraper” and polygonal twin towers. In the outline concept for the first phase, the “groundscraper” cantilevered over the river walk and cut through the Grossmarkthalle. Now, in the second phase, it runs parallel to the Grossmarkthalle leaving the historic building untouched. The Grossmarkthalle serves as the ECB’s main entrance and public area, and is linked to the two office towers by the conference centre in the “groundscraper”. The concept is concise and functional.

2nd prize: ASP Schweger Assoziierte, Berlin, Germany

The hovering “sky bridge” contrasts with the Grossmarkthalle without overwhelming this historic building. The Grossmarkthalle is well preserved though its roof is replaced by a glass construction. This innovative concept will create an exhilarating effect with the vertical buildings connected through an entrance plaza and the elevated plane. The growth module for possible future expansion is an additional tower.

3rd prize: 54f architekten/T. R. Hamzah & Yeang, Darmstadt, Germany/Selangor, Malaysia

The design concept extends the urban axes into the site, using them to create different landscapes and architectural elements. Two different high-rise slabs will be placed to the south of the Grossmarkthalle to “enrich the existing shape of the city”. The open space concept is highly developed. High-quality workplaces take account of energy and environmental considerations. The design concept makes good use of the site and the proportions of the new buildings do not overwhelm the Grossmarkthalle. The concept integrates well with the neighbourhood, incorporating many requirements of the functional programme.

The competition was launched in November 2002 (see the ECB’s Press Release of 26 November 2002) as a restricted project competition in two phases preceded by the pre-selection of 80 qualified applicants (see the ECB’s Press Release of 7 April 2003) and possibly followed by an optional revision phase. By 7 July 2003, which was the deadline for the first phase, 71 of the 80 candidates had submitted initial outline concepts. On 28 and 29 August 2003 the jury short-listed 12 candidates for the second phase. This phase began on 15 September 2003 and the 12 designers were required to submit their design concepts by 12 December 2003.

The jury evaluated the 12 design concepts on the basis of the following criteria:

  • overall town-planning, architecture and landscape;
  • compliance with the main features of the functional and spatial programme;
  • feasible energy/environmental concept and compliance with the main features of the ECB’s technical requirements;
  • compliance with the relevant regulations, particularly those in the field of building law and environmental law.

In a revision phase to follow, the Governing Council of the ECB will invite one or more prizewinners to review their design proposals, and a final design will be agreed on in cooperation with the ECB and the City of Frankfurt. After this revision phase, the Governing Council of the ECB will award the contract for planning its new premises to one of the three prizewinning architects.

From 21 February to 14 March 2004 the Deutsches Architektur Museum in Frankfurt am Main will host a public exhibition of all the design proposals from both the first and second phases. A preview for the media is planned for 20 February 2004 at 11.00 a.m.

Further details of the winning designs including photographs of the models can be found on the ECB’s website.

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