The city that lent its name to every New Yorker’s favorite street food seems a bit in love with New York. It has even been called “Mainhatten” from being on the Main River and its many skyscrapers.
I am a fan of the sheer sculptural qualities of concrete, and the uncompromising philosophies of brutalism, so I search out some buildings that I have read about over the years. But I am out of luck. The Historic Museum annex, the Technical City Hall and the AfE Tower at Frankfurt University have all gone. The last two, once futuristic and thrillingly abstract, will be replaced with copies of old buildings.
Is the city losing faith in architects to create a better future, just as the citizens of Europe seem to have lost their faith in the politicians of Brussels and the economists of Frankfurt? Outside the current European Central Bank, the Euro Monument says it all. Like the currency, it is falling apart. One of the stars around the giant Euro sign you see on banknotes hangs loose. It is strange – this square, and indeed a good few parts of Frankfurt, especially around the Hauptbahnhof – are very scruffy, despite Frankfurt and Germany being the poster boys for EU success.
“Frankfurt is actually not that high tech,” says hotelier Julia Schröder. “Even though it is the only city in Germany with such an incredible skyline, it is still very green. Being green and sustainable is the new high tech.” She laughs: “There are a lot of plans which show Frankfurt with new sustainable and green buildings. It is planned to be the greenest city in Europe. I like this idea a lot. So, in this way, the city is still definitely a futuristic city.”