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English Information

Rebuilding Frankfurt's old centre:
New life between the Cathedral and the Römer Square

The DomRömer Quarter is being developed in the heart of Frankfurt and will bring new life to the city's historic centre. Historical alleyways, romantic squares, picturesque courtyards and grand patricians' houses: Until its destruction in the Second World War; the structure of the old city of Frankfurt had grown organically over centuries. The hustle and bustle in the pubs, shops and craftsmen's workshops had always attracted a lot of visitors to the area between the Cathedral, or "Dom" as it is called in German, and the Römer, the main square in the centre of Frankfurt. With the completion of the DomRömer Quarter in 2017, this very special atmosphere will be returning to the heart of Frankfurt.

Historical paving – relaid

If everyone pulls together and the residents of a city are committed to achieving their hearts' desire, then something really special can be created. A prime example of this is the DomRömer Quarter with it successful mixture of old and new built on the historical urban layout.

When the Technical Town Hall in the city centre with its grey concrete walls dating from the 1970s was in need of a major overhaul, many people saw a unique opportunity: The idea was to tear down the unpopular administrative building and restore some of the original character of the old city centre. Over an area of 7,000 m² the old alleyways and squares that were destroyed in the Second World War could be rebuilt. The area between the Cathedral and the Römer was to be lowered to its former level so that people could once again walk along the famous Krönungsweg, the Coronation Path of the German kings and emperors. The idea – which was developed in a planning workshop in conjunction with citizens of the city – received an overwhelming response. After extensive planning work and a decision in a multi-stage architecture competition, the project is now being carried out by the city-owned DomRömer GmbH.

35 houses are being constructed on the historical city layout with a loving attention to detail. 15 reconstructions and 20 new buildings, incorporating typical style elements of Frankfurt's old town, together create a residential area that is typical of an old city centre with a successful mixture of old and new. Around 200 people will make this their new home. As in the past, the quarter will also house little shops, restaurants, premises for local craftsmen and picturesque squares. The new DomRömer Quarter will be a lively residential area and a meeting place for both residents of the city and visitors.

The new "Stadthaus am Markt" (city hall on the market square), will make the quarter even more attractive. It is designed as an event venue and meeting point for all residents. But that is not all. It is built over the Archaeological Garden, providing not only protection but also housing a large and freely accessible exhibition area where these important historical remains are given a modern presentation.

After intensive preparations, overground work began on the 35 old houses in November 2014.


The new DomRömer Quarter will…

  • cover an area of 7,000 m²
  • contain the Stadthaus am Markt and 35 old houses, including
  • 15 reconstructions and
  • 20 new buildings
  • give 200 people a new home in around 80 apartments
  • provide around 30 ground floor premises for catering establishments, craftsmen and trade
  • offer over 600 parking spaces as well as technical facilities and basements for the old houses in the 20,000 m² DomRömer car park
  • be finished at the end of 2017.

Related Pages

  • New but not too modern. Inspired by history, but not old-fashioned. Cosy, high quality, individual and yet homogeneous in their entirety. Typical Frankfurt, typical old town, typical DomRömer Quarter. Quite stiff demands were laid down for the 20 new buildings being constructed up to 2017 in the DomRömer Quarter in the heart of the city.

    For a number of reasons it was not possible to build all the houses in the new DomRömer Quarter exactly to match their historical models. Very high standards were therefore developed for these new houses. When selecting the architectural designs, special attention was paid to making sure they fitted in with the historical reconstructions. The new buildings now blend harmoniously into the development as a whole, and, as stipulated in the design specifications, incorporate features from the historical buildings such as the red or yellow River Main sandstone ground floor façades. But the new houses are quite recognisably contemporary buildings from the 21st century. 20 characteristic new houses are being created on the basis of typical old Frankfurt buildings and offer homes that will be both a pleasure to live in or look at when, in 2017, visitors stroll through the new DomRömer Quarter.

  • Most Frankfurt residents only know what the historic old town originally looked like from black and white photographs or the famous model of the old town in the city's historisches museum. Before the destruction of the old town in 1944, the townscape included buildings of many different styles, such as Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Classical. The new DomRömer Quarter will bring the history of the area and Frankfurt's old centre back to life.

    A total of 15 houses will be reconstructed in the DomRömer Quarter by 2017. They reflect all the most significant ages and architectural styles that were to be found in the historical old town and bring back the old flair to the historical streets and alleyways. The picturesque chicken market for example - once a popular subject for photos - will be surrounded on three sides by reconstructed houses.

    Like the new buildings, the reconstructions also have their own individual features. Each house has a long past and gives us a glimpse of an earlier chapter in the history of Frankfurt.

  • The Stadthaus am Markt is the main feature of the DomRömer Quarter and forms the southern boundary. It borders directly on the southermost row of houses called Markt or Krönungsweg with the two famous reconstructions Goldene Waage and Rotes Haus. The Stadthaus am Markt will become an event venue and meeting point for all residents. But that is not all. It is built over the Archaeological Garden, providing not only protection but also housing a large and freely accessible exhibition area where these important historical remains are given a modern presentation.

    The archaeological findings in the middle of Frankfurt were not discovered until the 1950s. Buildings had stood on the Archaeological Garden until the destruction of the old town in the Second World War. Historical maps show that in the Middle Ages, houses in the old town were built right up to the Cathedral. Typical Frankfurt – the Archaeological Garden is a prime example of how new buildings were built over old ones. The latest investigations during preparations for the construction of the Stadthaus have revealed that the remains of Carolingian walls were used as basements and foundations for Mediaeval houses in the old town, for example. It was not until the destruction of Frankfurt's old centre in the Second World War that archaeologists from the Archaeological Museum were able to investigate the site for historically significant findings.

    And what did they find? Evidence of Frankfurt's earliest settlements. Three cultural layers meet in the Archaeological Garden: the Roman period, the Carolingian period and the High Middle Ages.

    Incidentally, the Archaeological Garden was not developed as an open-air archaeological museum until 1972/73 when the underground garage and the former Technical Town Hall were built. Since then the remains have suffered from the effects of the weather and the environment. It was therefore decided to build the Stadthaus over the remains, both to protect them and to make them more attractive and interesting for residents and visitors. The new space can also be used for events, living, working and leisure activities.

  • The DomRömer Quarter will become a popular residential and business address for people who want to live in the heart of Frankfurt and are looking for something special. Marketing activities for the apartments in the new quarter have been completed so that at the moment no new apartments are on the market.

  • DomRömer GmbH, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the city of Frankfurt am Main, is the site developer. The company was formed in 2009 for the purposes of developing, planning and completing the new DomRömer Quarter in the heart of the city. DomRömer GmbH is also responsible for marketing and selling the new houses and apartments.

    The managing director Michael Guntersdorf is an experienced architect and urban planner who has contributed his wide expertise to the development of the new quarter. He is assisted by a team of specialists based in the Haus zum Paradies on Liebfrauenberg square.

  • 2004
    The City Council commissions the municipal authorities to announce a town planning competition for the Technical Town Hall.

    A jury chooses the design by the firm of architects KSP Engel & Zimmermann. A public debate on the planning begins. The reconstruction of historical old town houses is demanded.

    Historical documents are examined and a planning workshop set up with the collaboration of some 60 residents of the city.

    The city repurchases the Technical Town Hall. The City Council decides on plans based on the planning workshop.

    In July, a Europe-wide competition for the Stadthaus am Markt is launched and DomRömer GmbH is formed in order to develop the DomRömer area. A planning board is set up and design specifications submitted through the municipal authorities.

    In December Michael Guntersdorf is appointed managing director of DomRömer GmbH. A jury decides on four winning designs for the construction of the Stadthaus am Markt over the Archaeological Garden.

    In April the groundbreaking ceremony is held and demolition of the Technical Town Hall begins. In November DomRömer GmbH launches the architectural competition for the redevelopment of the DomRömer area. More than 170 firms of architects from all over Europe apply to participate in the competition.

    At the beginning of February, the DomRömer Special Commission appoints the consortium of Meurer Architekten Stadtplaner Ingenieure together with cba architectes from Frankfurt am Main / Luxembourg to take over the further planning of the Stadthaus am Markt. The City Council approves the decision on 24 February with a huge majority. The results of the DomRömer development competition are presented to the public on 23 March. Beforehand a jury selected the 54 best designs from the models submitted. DomRömer GmbH invites the winners to submit tenders, holds talks with the tenderers and draws up proposals for awarding the offer which are put to the advisory council. At the same time the tender procedure for the planning of the reconstructions begins.

    The Römer underground car park closes in May for further building work and the remaining ground floor of the former Technical Town Hall is pulled down. In December sales negotiations are completed for the optional reconstructed buildings. Based on these talks, DomRömer GmbH draws up a decision paper. The final decision is made: 15 houses will be reconstructed by 2017.

    In January the foundation stone for the new DomRömer Quarter is ceremonially laid. The Advisory Council accepts the contract award recommendations put forward by DomRömer GmbH following the DomRömer Development competition; the planning committee also agrees. The winners of the competition are also awarded the contract. On 24 February the results are presented to the Dom-Römer Special Commission and for the first time to the public. The old town now has a face.

    In summer the preparatory work for the Stadthaus and the southernmost row of houses Markt and Krönungsweg begins. The Archaeological Garden is inspected and prepared for the foundation work. In August the so-called Schirn-Tisch, a large rectangular concrete veranda, is demolished.

    In August the Archaeological Garden is packed in geotextile and carefully filled in with a gravelly substance so that it has the best possible protection during the foundation works at the southern end. In the northern section of the DomRömer Quarter 90 % of the basements for the new old town houses have been completed. You can watch the activities at the building site on our webcams, by the way.

    At the beginning of the year the foundation piles for the Stadthaus and the houses on the southern side of the Markt are laid. Deep holes were bored in the ground. At a depth of around 30 metres, approximately 30 concrete supports were put in the ground to bear the weight of the Stadthaus and the terraced houses on Krönungsweg. In April the Archaeological Garden is freed from its protective cover of gravel and geotextile.

    After extensive foundation work in the Archaeological Garden, building begins on the shell of the Stadthaus am Markt in May.

    DomRömer car park reopens in July with a new shine. The extensive restoration work has been completed and 480 parking spaces are now available. User-friendly family parking spaces and new electric filling stations for e-cars are among some of the new features. Mayor Olaf Cunitz: "One of the most modern and user-friendly car parks in our city".

    August 2013: The DomRömer website takes on a new look. The website is now interactive and contains a wealth of pictures and information about the new quarter in the heart of the city enabling a very good overview of the project quickly and easily.

    Visitors to the nearby citizens' advice office on Römerberg are also constantly asking for more information about the DomRömer project. DomRömer GmbH, supported by the Press and Information Office, has consequently set up its own Info Point in the citizens' advice office in the Frankfurt Forum am Römerberg.

    In September a further milestone will be reached: The architectural designs for the 20 new buildings in the quarter have undergone detailed planning over the past months and the approval plans have been completed. This means the planning application for the entire DomRömer Quarter can now be submitted.

    February 2014: The new Dom/Römer underground exit is opened. The exit had to be moved in order to build the new Goldene Waage house. The first section - the emergency stairway - is commissioned. Over the next few months the escalator will be moved to the new exit and the old exit dismantled. Building can then start on the Goldene Waage – the famous Renaissance building in the old town - and other houses along the Krönungsweg.

    Marketing of the apartments in the 20 new buildings in Frankfurt's old town starts in February.

    March 2014: Information event for potential buyers and sales negotiations. There is a great deal of interest.

    June 2014 In order to offer residents, tourists and visitors as pleasant an environment as possible during the construction work, DomRömer GmbH commissions the artists Ingrid Strohkark and Nicole Wächtler to design a section of the building fence near the Dom/Römer underground station. In cooperation with the restaurant opposite, Cucina Delle Grazie, a colourful work of art is created that visitors can stop and admire.

    The Stadthaus am Markt, a central part of Frankfurt's future old town, is entering the crucial construction phase. At the end of June 2014 the structural work on the last and biggest section of the building is completed. Then the great moment comes. The event hall which will later accommodate 150 people and literally "hangs" above the remains in the Archaeological Garden" is "mounted" in the existing shell as a steel construction.

    July 2014 this year's Iconic Award in the category "Communication" goes to DomRömer GmbH. They impressed the expert jury for spatial design with their transparent project communication on the reconstruction of Frankfurt's old town. The marketing strategy developed by DomRömer GmbH in collaboration with the agencies Standard Rad and FuP Marketing und Kommunikation "The city is alive. Welcome to Frankfurt's new centre" triumphed against the many other creative entries.

    An important milestone along the road to Frankfurt's new old town is reached: The planning authorities of the City of Frankfurt give DomRömer GmbH construction approval for the whole project. After building has begun on the Stadthaus, the overground works on the 35 old houses between the cathedral and Römer can also begin.

    Structural work on the Stadthaus am Markt, the event and meeting venue at the southern end of the area, is nearing completion. The topping-out ceremony for the Stadthaus will be held in autumn this year.

    But it's not just on the building site between the Cathedral and the Römer that people are busy at work. Preparations for the construction of the 35 old houses are also going on in various craft workshops. At Hermann Graser's natural stone works in Bamberg, for example. With his expert hands the stonemason is creating decorative stones, figures, fountains and columns which will all have a place in the façades and courtyards of the new Frankfurt old town. During a visit to the Bamberg works, journalists had the opportunity to watch him at work. The stone masonry for the Goldene Waage, the Goldene Lämmchen and the house Klein Nürnberg is completed first.

    September 2014: The new Frankfurt old town is given colour. For those interested there was an opporutnity to look at wall models for the colour master plans of the DomRömer Quarter together with experts in colour and architectural design and project development at Hildesheim University.

    October 2014: The shell of the Stadthaus am Markt is finished. The topping-out ceremony takes place in beautiful sunshine and is another important milestone in Frankfurt's old town project. Lots of guests celebrate at the building site together with the City of Frankfurt. Mayor Olaf Cunitz talks of a "great contribution to Frankfurt's culture of remembrance“.

    November 2014: Start of overground work on the old houses.

    All the buildings and the development of the exterior areas will be completed in 2017.

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