Situated on the banks of the Rhine-Main area, the new HfG building initiates a condensed, urban campus in a former industrial harbour area. In the transformation of the harbour into a new urban quarter, the new university building serves as a creative campus, an expression of art and innovation that is central to the future quarter.
The design features a vast hollow space, which is its main architectural, urban and landscape element. Conceived as a 190 m x 27 m green inner courtyard, it stretches along the entire site and forms a new park along the axis of Frankfurt’s Museum Embankment. Regulations required a view through the building that interrupts the volume and divides the university into two parts. The courtyard intersects this view and creates a link between all departments reconnecting the two sites. When approaching, the courtyard reveals the vibrancy of the new art campus.
The large-scale building volume is defined by a series of subtractions: the garden, the view through, the building lines established by the urban planning rules, a space for possible extension, and a series of smaller cut-outs that structure the long facades of the two four-storey buildings. The large-scale volume pays homage to the industrial buildings along the river Main, lending a factory-like atmosphere to these spaces for creation, reflection, mediation, and discourse.
The steel facade of white-painted U-profiles is suspended at the front of the load-bearing concrete structure, acting as a superordinate grid that binds the two building parts and their uses into a coherent unit. Several patios, loggias, and atriums structure the building volume within the grid, in correspondence to the scale of the urban context. The facades of the building ensemble display a patchwork of transparent, translucent and opaque elements that allow the programming of the clusters to shine through. On the south side, facing Hafenallee and the inner courtyard, high galleries open up the buildings which connect the interior and exterior as showrooms for the university.