In 1985, a big new project was announced: The Frankfurt Trade Fair invited international firms to participate in an architectural competition. They were looking to construct a new landmark building for the Fairgrounds, a monumental office tower, in the immediate vicinity of Exhibition Hall 1 and the Festhalle. German-born architect Helmut Jahn from Chicago won the competition with his classic skyscraper design.
The ground-breaking ceremony for the 251m high building was to be held on July 13, 1988. It was envisaged to complete the highest skyscraper in Europe at the time within a period of only 37 months. The building was designed to have 63 storeys, providing a total of 62.000 m² office space for 3.000 workstations. A superlative!
What initially looked like a chaotic and disorganised construction site was actually the execution of a well thought-out design: The intricate inner structure, consisting of steel profiles and concrete walls, provides stability for the 250-Million-Euro Tower. In the end, the project created a new city within the city, with its own metro station, parking garage and an individual postal code. A 6m layer, incorporating no less than 2500 tons of steel, serves as a foundation for the tower. To keep the monumental building from sinking into the ground made up of "Frankfurt clay", the ground slab - 60 by 60m in size - was built on 64 massive bored piles.
MesseTurm Frankfurt grew rapidly. In only 26 months, almost half of the storeys, including the 18m high lobby, were completed. While construction continued in the upper floors, three years after the ground-breaking ceremony the first tenants of the lower floors were already moving in.
The 39.000 m² facade is one of MesseTurm's characteristics: The stones were extracted from Swedish quarries, cut and polished in Italy, assembled into construction units on the Danube and finally put together in Frankfurt. Every individual piece weighs 1.9 tons! Their color is supposed to resemble traditional Frankfurt Main sandstone which has been used for the construction of important buildings for centuries.
Of course a skyscraper needs comprehensive utility and service systems! Electrical cabling, water pipes, heating stacks as well as all other supply and disposal systems are located in the octagonal inner core of the building. The office areas built around this core are all column-free. To guarantee fast connections between the individual floors, the building provides a total of 24 elevators. Each floor can be reached in less than 40 seconds.
Every skyscraper needs a proper top! In classic skyscraper style, MesseTurm's top is built like a Greek column crowned by a pointed tip. At night, the pyramid is illuminated brightly so that it is visible from far away.
On March 12, 1990, 20 months after ground-breaking, the tower structure was completed: the 36,6 m high pyramid was ready to be installed! The glass pyramid sits enthroned at a height of just under 260m, looking down on the city roofs. Thanks to the pointed peak, the building literally becomes a "skyscraper".
37 months, 63 storeys and 62.000m² of office space later, Frankfurt MesseTurm soars over the city. With its design evoking american art déco architecture of the 1920s, it is one of the most beautiful high rises in Europe and one of most famous skyscrapers in the world to this day.