Schönhof Quarter in Frankfurt: Winners of the Europe-wide architectural competition for the quarter's centre chosen

Daycare centre, hybrid school and apartments are planned /// Ackermann + Raff of Stuttgart and Menges Scheffler Architekten of Frankfurt win the contract for building sites from Nassauische Heimstätte | Wohnstadt Group and Instone Real Estate /// Project partners and the city of Frankfurt praise the high quality of the competition

Frankfurt am Main, 08 March 2019: It is to become a lively residential quarter with a resounding name: the Schönhof Quarter is being constructed where, for years, administrative buildings, production halls, brownfields and parking lots have defined the appearance. Together, Nassauische Heimstätte | Wohnstadt Group and listed residential developer Instone Real Estate are carrying out the project on the former Siemens grounds and other sites that have since been acquired in the Frankfurt district of Bockenheim. Development has been taking shape since last year: in the scope of a Europe-wide architectural competition, the project partners have been preparing for the development of the first two building sites in coordination with the city of Frankfurt am Main. Around 100 firms submitted an application; 12 were approved. The winners have now been determined: the jury of experts selected the Stuttgart-based firm Ackermann + Raff for Nassauische Heimstätte's site and Menges Scheffler Architekten of Frankfurt am Main for Instone's site. The managers of the project partners praised the high quality of the competition.

"The jury had an extremely tough time," says Dr. Constantin Westphal, Managing Director of Nassauische Heimstätte. "All 12 designs were very interesting, well thought-out and extremely unusual in their diversity." says Ralf Werner, Head of the Rhine-Main Branch at Instone Real Estate, confirming Mr Westphal's assessment: "That's exactly what we had hoped for from this competition: a wide range of ideas and plans from which the jury chose two winning designs. The winners now have an important responsibility; after all, they're setting the architectural standard for the Schönhof Quarter."

The project partners are striving for a significant level of architectural diversity and quality with a wide range of buildings. A mix of 30 percent subsidized apartments, privately financed rental apartments as well as condominiums is planned.

Mike Josef, director of planning for the city of Frankfurt, is confident that the new quarter is more than an important contribution to counter the housing shortage. "I'm convinced that, as a family-friendly residential area with high-quality surroundings, the Schönhof Quarter will also set new standards for urban planning. At the centre of the district, it is particularly important to me that the ground floors are brought to life. The shops and restaurants make just as much of a contribution as the new school at the quarter's central square. It will become a centrepiece in the new quarter."

School and apartments under one roof

The participants in the competition were meant to design a plan for the future centre. On approximately 45,000 square metres of total floor area, the centre's two buildings and the neighbourhood square in-between connect the residential areas with a total of around 2,000 apartments in the east and west of the quarter, forming the urban backbone of the future Schönhof Quarter. The jury placed particular emphasis on the urban planning concept, the fulfilment of the programme for spatial design and functional requirements, the quality of the design and spatial approach as well as economic efficiency. The proposed solutions range from the elimination of block perimeters to megastructures that connect the buildings and even overbuild the neighbourhood square. The participants in the competition were also highly creative when it came to the question of where which form of use was to be located. The approaches ranged from a sports facility on the lower level to schoolyards on the eighth floor.

Hybrid school: Nassauische Heimstätte enters new territory

Nassauische Heimstätte is developing the premises south of the central square and, in doing so, entering new territory. With the city of Frankfurt, Hesse's biggest residential company is building the first horizontally mixed hybrid school in Germany. This means: on the two lower floors a elementary school is being built together with a sports facility, and on the floors above, apartments. The separation of public and private is to result in a largely unproblematic mix of uses. Ackermann + Raff address the perimeter structure in their winning Dutch- and Scandinavian-inspired design and "stack" the functional areas around a central internal courtyard. The remaining areas serve as internal open spaces as well as interfaces to public areas. All of the apartments that will be built at this construction site are publicly subsidized and are to achieve the highest possible energy standard.

For Frankfurt's director of construction and real estate, Jan Schneider, hybrid schools are a way to potentially tackle two challenges together. "We have an enormous need for housing and schools, so we need to find new, perhaps unconventional, ways to meet these needs. The entries in the competition have shown us that there are very good solutions for accommodating a school, sports facilities and apartments together in a building complex."

Daycare centre, medical practices, supermarkets: Instone is developing local supply

Instone is building the new quarter's local stores in the building north of the central square: two supermarkets, several retail outlets and a restaurant facing the neighbourhood square. Inside, on the first floor, there are medical practices and offices as well as a daycare centre. The remaining areas and all other upper floors are reserved for housing. This mix of uses is to help to reduce district traffic largely to bicycles and pedestrians. In its winning design, Menges Scheffler Architekten is focused on peripheral block development as a basic framework for a hybrid building use. The staggered heights are the firm's response to the development planned for the surrounding area. The housing with its variety of depths also lends shape and a sense of organization to the buildings. The mix of uses is then reflected in the heterogeneous building structure.

In the course of the development of the Schönhof Quarter there will be further competitive procedures. The process for the centre of the quarter is the most complex thing, given the size of the building sites and various user groups. The first building applications will be submitted in 2019 and the Schönhof Quarter completed by 2024.

 

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