Philosophicum, Germany

Student residence building brick facade front view Philosophicum Germany
Philosophicum, Germany © Lisa Farkas

Architects Stefan Forster Architekten, Germany
Location Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Construction period 2014-2017
Nomination category Living together
Purpose Student Residence
Usable floor area 6.500 m²
Brick type Facing bricks

The Philosophicum in Frankfurt am Main was an important monument of post-war modern architecture. The Arts faculty of the University of Frankfurt was located in its premises. It was one of the first buildings in Europe with an external, unclad steel skeleton. The building stood vacant and unused for a long time, and was to be demolished, but protests from the general public, politicians and agencies for the protection of historic monuments saved the building from being torn down. In the end, an investor refurbished and enlarged the building, which now comprises 238 student apartments, a kindergarten, café and a roof terrace. The new part works in harmony with the old building and the stairways link together. Throughout the project, the architects followed a concept of expressing old elements in a new way. Special attention was given to the existing façade but, ultimately, it was too damaged to preserve. It was therefore re-built from new, along with  the windows and concrete slabs. As a result, the new façade incorporates aspects of the existing building in combination with new sections. The new building is constructed from bricks in different shades of light brown  to give variety. It bears a certain resemblance to the original building, as the architect succeeded in preserving some of its former historic impact.

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