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South of Rödelheimer Landstraße

Urban development draft, Offices, Commerce, Housing
District: Local district:
2, 7
Size of area:
28.5 ha
Project management:

Mr. Ingo Lachmann
fone: +49 (0)69 212 34404

Project description

Reason for planning
The area covered by the planning north of the LRT tracks was zoned as an industrial site; for a long time the development status has no longer corresponded with this zoning. Reasons included restructuring of commercial operations and the introduction of new usages that have occurred there in recent years.
The lack of alignment between planning laws and the usage structure had given rise to a lack of clarity for commercial users, for locals who lived in or on the periphery of the planning area, and for property owners of the real estate lying barren or being refunctioned.
As regards demand for new use options for the barren pieces of ground or for reassigning building usages the focus has mainly been on demand for options to build housing. Owing to relocations and company closures, in the middle and eastern sub-sections larger areas are now available for restructuring and consolidating a residential estate.
These fundamental changes to framework conditions led as a whole to the need to create a new urban-planning solution.

Development district

The site in question is bounded by the Main/Weser rail track in the east, Rödelheimer Landstrasse in the north, Ludwig Landmann Strasse in the west, and the Frankfurt-West – Frankfurt/Rödelheim LRT line in the south. In the south, an area from the City-West complex has been included in the scope of planning to facilitate a decision on the construction of an underpass beneath the LRT tracks. The geographical scope of development plan no. 834 – South of Rödelheimer Landstrasse covers an area of some 28.5 hectares



Planning objectives
The objective behind development plan no. 834 – South of Rödelheimer Landstrasse is to create an urban quarter with housing as well as commercial and service companies while controlling the evolving restructuring process for the area in question by improving the usage mixture and structure.
The idea is to integrate existing commercial operations in the western section of the site and put them on a solid footing under planning laws. The conflicts and uncertainties arising from the lack of alignment between planning law and actual usages will thus be eliminated, so the intention.
By increasing the proportion of parkland on the one hand the ecological situation will be enhanced, while, on the other, the area within the scope of the plan will open up on both the inside and to the outside thanks to public spaces including meeting points and recreation areas. The plans will optimize both internal access routes including the interfaces to outside access routes.
Existing shortcomings in social infrastructure and the lack of everyday goods available locally will be overcome by bringing in retail outlets covering such needs and adding a new primary school at the heart of the planned quarter.

Project progress
Starting from the construction intentions of the former owner Siemens, the project launched in 2002. In the following years, the overall conditions and objectives for the site changed on several occasions, in part fundamentally. For that reason, the urban planning was continuously being revised and procedural steps in the land-use plan process had to be repeated and/or carried out more than once.
Planning was first finalized with the urban planning proposal of Aug. 15, 2018. The central and eastern sections of the area covered by the plans had meanwhile been acquired by Nassauische Heimstätte and the Instone Real Estate corporation – they have named their section of the zone “Schönhofviertel”.
After examining and assessing all the statements received from involvement of developers, patrons, and public disclosure, the City Council by resolution of March 4, 2021, section 7307 (M 31) passed the statute for the land-use plan. Since in the meantime the South Hessen Regional Plan / Regional Zoning Plan 2010 had been amended and the changes had taken legal effect, the land-use plan was publicly disclosed on Dec. 21, 2021 and has thus come into force.
The land-use plan can only be fully implemented on the back of a land readjustment process. The City Council instructed with its resolution of Aug. 31, 2017, art. 1689, that rezoning as per sections 45 ff. BauGB be undertaken, and land readjustment procedure no. 215 was thereupon initiated. When the resolution preempting the decision as per section 76 BauGB came into effect on Oct. 12, 2021, in the east section a sub-zone was already readjusted and building land made available for the first approx. 2,000 housing units.
In the meantime, building permission has been granted for most of the sites and construction infrastructure access measures are well under way.

PDF files relating to the project

More information

Contracts awarded to several parties for the building sites

Alongside the realization competition for the backbone and contracts awarded to several parties for the park, an agreement with the owners and recorded in an urban planning contract realized to guarantee the architectural diversity and quality of the remaining building sites by means of a procedure based on competition involving multiple contracts for several parties.

Architecture professors Jo Eisele from Darmstadt and Rolf Egon Westerheide from Aachen were appointed as expert judges. The other judges were appointed by the Municipal Council Head of Planning and the City of Frankfurt Planning Dept. as well as the owner involved, namely Nassauische Heimstätte Wohnungs- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH and Instone Real Estate. The processes were supported by experts in the municipal administration and the respective owners.

The individual building sites were subdivided further into two to three sections, so that several different competition winners could be selected even within the respective sites.

Sites D and E

Rendering of Goldina Hirschberg Strasse, © Karl Dudler Architekten, Frankfurt/Main

In Sites D and E the special challenge was to develop appropriate solutions for building sections directly adjacent to the railway tracks and at the same time produce a range of different, attractive spaces within the blocks.

In addition to some 59,000 sqm in gross surface area for housing, the plans had to accommodate the following usages: a hospitality outlet that referenced the park, a childcare center, and student residences.

Rendering of one of the inner courtyards, © Karl Dudler Architekten, Frankfurt/Main

Of the seven architectural practices that submitted proposals

•    Florian Krieger with Björn Schmidt, Darmstadt
•    graboski.spork architektur, Wiesbaden
•    Ortner & Ortner, Berlin
•    Karl Dudler, Frankfurt/Main
•    Léon Wohlhage, Berlin
•    Planquadrat, Darmstadt
•    Wentz & Co., Frankfurt/Main

The jury meeting of Aug. 14, 2019, selected Planquadrat as the winner for Site E and Karl Dudler practice for Site D.

View of the façade for Block E, © Planquadrat, Darmstadt

The Karl Dudler office stood out in particular for the well-structured ground plans it had developed for Site D1 and the gateway building for Site D2 – by positioning the special building in the corridor, the inner courtyard is appropriately closed.

Planquadrat’s entry was convincing above all because of the good solution found for the high-noise side of Sites E1 / E2 as well as the mix of apartment layouts, which moreover enables flexible changes to the sequencing of apartments.

Construction work for these sites will presumably start before the end of 2022.

Site C

Rendering of Site C1, Rödelheimer Landstrasse corner of Valentina Archipowa Strasse, © Landes & Partner, Frankfurt/Main

Site C is characterized by its central position in the quarter, acting as an intermediary between Rödelheimer Landstrasse with its late 19th-century buildings and the park that runs through the entire Schönhof-Viertel. The brief therefore included as special criteria: creating routes from Rödelheimer Landstrasse into the park; and devising the ground plans and façades on the side facing the park.

The site is destined only for housing and has a gross surface area of about 43,000 sqm.

Rendering of Sites C2 and C3 seen from the park, © BGF + Architekten, Wiesbaden

Of the five architectural practices that submitted proposals

•    BITSCH+BIENSTEIN Architekten OFB, Wiesbaden
•    Landes & Partner, Frankfurt/Main
•    BGF+ Architekten, Wiesbaden
•    Meixner Schlüter Wendt Architekten, Frankfurt/Main
•    hillstudio - Hill Stahl Architekten GmbH, Frankfurt/Main

the jury meeting of June 23, 2020 selected Landes & Partner for Site C1 and BGF+ Architekten for Sites C2 and C3.

Rendering of the routes in Site C2, © BGF + Architekten, Wiesbaden

Both architectural practices submitted persuasive façade designs that gave the individual builds a strong appearance as prime properties while also solving the routes to the park successfully. In the jury’s opinion, Landes & Partner proposed the best solution for the northwest corner, while specifically as regards the design and functionality of the buildings aligned to the park BGF+ Architekten had tabled the best of the solutions submitted.

Construction work is scheduled to commence in 2022.

Site F

Rendering of Site F1, Goldina Hirschberg Strasse corner of Karoline Veith Strasse, © Nassauische Heimstätte Wohnstadt

Site F border in the south on the rail tracks and in the west on the ramp for the planned underpass leading to Solmsstrasse. Accordingly, noise insulation was required on the outside and appealing spaces provided in the inner courtyards.

In addition to providing around 42,500 sqm in gross housing areas, plans had to include a childcare center.

Rendering of Sites F2 and F3, Karoline Veith Strasse corner of Valentina Archipowa Strasse, © Scharnberger Architekten und Ingenieure, Frankfurt/Main

Unlike the procedure for the other sites, here the process was divided into two stages from the outset. For Site F1 Nassauische Heimstätte held an internal competition among its “Sun”, “Moon”, and “Stars” planning teams. Parallel to this, a competition was held for sites F2 and F3 between several architectural practices, namely

•    Scharnberger Architekten, Frankfurt/Main
•    Mäckler Architekten GmbH, Frankfurt/Main
•    Menges Scheffler Architekten, Frankfurt/Main.

Rendering of Site H1, Joachim Biermann Strasse with a ground-floor childcare center, © Planquadrat, Darmstadt

The jury meeting of Jan. 21, 2021, selected Scharnberger Architekten as the winner for Sites F2 and F3. Not only was the design of the façades and inner courtyards most convincing, but so was the positioning of the childcare center and how it constituted a clear entity in its own right. For Site F1, the “Moon” team won the day thanks to the well-structured ground plan its entry featured.

Applications for building permission are scheduled to be submitted before the end of 2022.

Sites A and H

Rendering of Site A3, Rödelheimer Landstrasse corner of Joachim Biermann Strasse, © Planquadrat, Darmstadt

Sites A3 and H1 are located west of the central backbone to the quarter adjacent to the blocks housing retail outlets and the primary school. Given land availability and construction logistics, these blocks will only be developed after the others.

A total of some 29,500 sqm of gross housing area and space for a childcare center in Site H1 are available.

Rendering of Site A3, view of the park in the south, © Planquadrat, Darmstadt

Of the three architectural practices that submitted proposals

•    FFM Architekten, Frankfurt/Main
•    Planquadrat, Darmstadt
•    Wentz & Co., Frankfurt/Main

the jury meeting of Oct. 7, 2021, selected Planquadrat as the winner for both sites.

Rendering of Site H1, Joachim Biermann Strasse with a ground-floor childcare center, © Planquadrat, Darmstadt

The proposal stood out for its positioning of the childcare center and the inclusion of the relevant outdoors spaces within the block. Likewise, it came up with highly persuasive solutions as regards both creating a unique identity and the design of the façades.

Given the construction site logistics, realization of the two sites will not commence for a few years.

Competition results: Center of the quarter

Models of the winning designs. Site A: Ackermann + Raff, Site B: Menges Scheffler Architekten. Photo: Miriam Kuroczynski

Object of the tender

The tender focused on planning for the future center of the quarter. Across a total of some 45,000 square meters of gross surface area, it brings together the total of about 2,500 apartments that make up the quarter in its east and west sections. The center of the quarter will function as a meeting point for residents and as its spatial heart. With the two buildings and the plaza between them as the center, it also acts as the urban planning spine for the planning area covered by Südlich Rödelheimer Landstrasse.

Nassauische Heimstätte is responsible for the construction work on the site to the south of the central plaza and is entering virgin territory in this regard. Here, together with the City of Frankfurt, Hessen’s largest housing company is realizing Germany’s first horizontally mixed hybrid school.

Looking back: The intention was to integrate the primary school into a block of buildings with an urban flair. The traditional idea of a standalone school with grounds surrounded by a fence thus morphed into that of a school as a module for intense urban life in a mixed-use block. The plan was to create an ensemble of buildings that featured not only the primary school but also included apartments. The “hybrid school” thus enabled learning and living directly next to each other or the one over the other.

To prepare the site for the new primary school, a planning process first took place concentrating on viable building projects for primary schools that could be realized with the involvement of investors.

In the course of this development planning (Phase Zero), during 2018 all the fundamental criteria, requirements, and standards were drawn up for the future construction of the new primary school in the planning zone.

The project was part of the overall debate on the framework for planning primary schools in Frankfurt, as initiated by the Municipal Dept. of Schools. In the context of that process, representatives of schools, the administration, parents and pupils defined the key design parameters for new-build schools for downtown areas where space is limited. The results make a strong contribution towards bringing teaching and spatial planning requirements into line with each other and ensuring they are met. Moreover, these formed the basic conditions in the closed competition for the realization of new builds for two mixed-use building complexes as well as urban planning ideas for a central plaza for the quarter.

Primary school and apartments. On behalf of Nassauische Heimstätte, Stuttgart-based Ackermann + Raff have designed the structures for Site A south of the central plaza. Rendering: moka-studio

In their winning design, Ackermann + Raff draw their inspiration from school buildings in Holland and Scandinavia, and opt for a structure based on a perimeter block with the functional zones “stacked” around a central inner courtyard. Cavities and projections give rise to sections that serve as internal free areas and as interfaces to the public space. The lion’s share of the apartments on the site will receive public subsidies and be as energy-efficient as possible.

Retail, childcare and housing. On behalf of Instone Real Estate, Frankfurt-based Menges Scheffler Architekten have designed the structures for Site B, north of the central plaza. Rendering: Menges Scheffler Architekten.

The building north of the central plaza, to be realized by Instone Real Estate, will contain all the local facilities for the new quarter: two supermarkets, several retail stores, and hospitality outlets facing the plaza. On the first floor, there will be medical practices or offices and an indoor childcare facility. The remaining areas and all the other stories will be reserved for apartments. In their proposal, Menges Scheffler Architekten took their cue from the idea of a perimeter block as the basic fabric for hybrid usages. The different building heights respond to future surrounding buildings. The apartment section, with the different building depths, provides a clear-cut structure for the ensemble. Here, too, some of the apartments will benefit from public subsidies.

Green Heart

View of the quarter’s plaza © 3D-Bilderfabrik Cologne

In coming years a new park featuring a plaza and covering an area of around 27,000 square meters will be laid out in Bockenheim. This green section will be located at the very heart of the new quarter south of Rödelheimer Landstrasse.

On the back of a selection procedure involving several participants, on November 13, 2019 an interdisciplinary jury chaired by Mr. Axel Lohrer voted unanimously in favor of the design submitted by Bierbaum.Aichele.landschaftsarchitekten in Frankfurt. DLA Die LandschaftsArchitekten in Wiesbaden and Sommerlaad Haase Kuhli in Giessen took joint third place. Ipach Mayerhofer Landschaftsarchitekten in Neu-Isenburg also took part.

The winning landscape architects’ concept develops the open spaces as social meeting points and recreation areas, enabling the park to be experienced in a number of ways. It is intended to be varied, change. The way in which it constantly alters and indeed can be altered means it is highly flexible and makes the concept for the park viable.

Meandering footpaths linking the various facilities provide the framework for visitors being able to use the park as they see fit and for it to develop. The concentration of facilities offering greater activity in the west of the park and calmer spots in the east imbue the park with two different mutually complementary traits.

Deliberately designed as a narrow point, the quarter’s plaza assumes an overarching linking role in the dynamic sequence. This creates a vibrant center defined in terms of function and design by the surrounding buildings and the park.

The design envisages the plaza and the park in part also being used as open space for the elementary school. Specifically, this means, for example, the sports areas the school requires being located in the west of the park, thereby serving as a linking element for the entire quarter. The greenery in the winning design accommodates the requirements of the uses to which it will be put. In conjunction with the high energy-efficiency of the apartments and the excellent public transport connections, the Schönhof Quarter is an example of socially and ecologically sustainable urban development.

The jury recommended that in places the design by Bierbaum.Aichele.landschaftsarchitekten be revised slightly. With immediate effect, the further planning of the park and the plaza will be coordinated by an inter-departmental working group and the project partners NHW and Instone.



Urban design proposal

The urban design proposal in question illustrates feasible exemplary structures that will be required in the development zone in the future.

The development zone hinges on a mix of predominantly residential units with auxiliary service outlets and central facilities, including commercial sections and defining green areas. The key design element here is the central band composed of public green spaces and social infrastructure. The zones to the north and south of it are earmarked for well-designed residential quarters with car-free courtyards. The central urban band not only links these quarters with one another, but is also connected to the local amenities. The large retail area is conveniently located in the center of the zone, on the corner of Rödelheimer Landstrasse with Birkenweg, meaning that it can also serve the surrounding districts. The closed structure of the apartment building on the eastern edge of the ambit shields the zone from the rail tracks. The concept of residential quarters that are accessed via cul-de-sacs is continued westwards along Rödelheimer Landstrasse, until it culminates in a new road that links Rödelheimer Landstrasse with Morsestrasse. Closed structures extending along Ludwig Landmann Strasse complete the development zone in the west.

The previous objectives for commercial section A in the southwest will essentially be retained, meaning that the existing companies in this zone will be integrated into the planning. Moreover, the existing companies in sections B and C will be included as pre-defined zones in the planning. The thoroughfares on Morsestrasse will be retained and extended; its transport links with Ludwig Landmann Strasse are considered absolutely necessary.

The course of the road with the planned “Birkenweg - An der Dammheide” underpass departs from the old proposal. Now the route extends parallel to the property of the Burka Kosmos commercial business (eastern section B). Most of the planning for the sections south of the rail tracks will be retained, with only slight modifications as a result of changes made to the spatial layout of the underpass.

In a move to enable efficient access to the zone, Kasernenstrasse, which currently extends along the eastern fringe of the development zone, will be shifted west by the width of a single building plot, where it will border the zone’s transport infrastructure.

The intention is to keep building heights uniform in line with the previous urban design proposal. Accordingly, the majority of buildings located on the roads will be five stories high, while those overlooking open spaces and the internal infrastructure will have mostly three and four stories. Only along Ludwig Landmann Strasse do plans envisage taller structures in harmony with the existing high-rise.

Urban planning proposal, status August 2018 © City of Frankfurt Planning Dept.; map basis: City of Frankfurt Survey Dept.

Perimeter block defines the development area
The perimeter block is the defining structure in the entire development area. For the purposes of meaningful segmentation and access along the roads, there are breaks in between the groups of closed-construction buildings surrounding a joint courtyard. Where the perimeter blocks abut directly on public areas of greenery, the blocks open out and take the form of a row structure. In such cases the perimeter blocks enable private and public spaces to link up, while also affording views of the open spaces.

Varied building topography through staggered building heights
Ranging from five to eight stories, the staggered heights of the buildings are a response to the surrounding edifices. This gives rise to a varied building topography which references the location and is based on the model of a greened, high-density urban quarter in an outstanding position.
In terms of appearance, the urban fabric is essentially defined by six-story structures. The central location and the size of the public greened areas justifies their density. In order to avoid an overly homogeneous and monotonous streetscape, accents are created in the form of high points that go as far as the high-rise building limit (structures in which the floor of at least one space is more than 22 meters above the ground).

The design element in the middle of the quarter – “The Clasp”

The central green strip in the middle is forms a key element of the design. It comprises two spacious public areas of parkland and, depending on how the center of the quarter is structured, the central public plaza.
The center of the quarter, what is known as the “clasp”, refers to the quarter’s plaza as well as multi-purpose buildings with public and infrastructure facilities.
In addition to the public strip of greenery the “clasp” forms the backbone of the quarter. In this way, the building ensemble links the residential quarters in the east and west. As such, in both urban development and architectural terms, the “clasp” is of outstanding design significance when it comes to ensuring the distinctive appearance of the quarter.
In light of its enormous significance for the entire area, the detailed specifications of the “clasp” and its form will be elucidated in the course of a competition.
Highly attractive plaza
The neighborhood plaza will be an attractive place in which to linger. In its role as the center of the quarter it will serve residents as a meeting point and as the central space. The intention is to design a pleasant area where people will enjoy spending time and which nevertheless takes the various functions into consideration (main access to, among other things, the elementary school and retail outlets).

Public areas of greenery
The public areas of greenery in the central part of the development area provide the legal basis for laying out a public park to serve a wide range of relaxation and recreational purposes. The parkland will cover some 2.1 hectares and the idea is for it to be highly diverse in character. It will relate to the surrounding buildings and will meet the needs of those living and working in the quarter. Accordingly, parts of the parkland will serve as play areas for various age groups and as spots for relaxing and lingering in. Foot and cycle paths will link the area of greenery with the surroundings. Furthermore, play and sports areas for the elementary school planned in the special area that is the center of the quarter can be configured there.

Higher peripheral structure at the eastern end of the park
The eastern end of the parkland will be defined by a differentiated, courtyard-like building complex with a higher peripheral structure overlooking the Main-Weser railroad track and an inner group of buildings.

Development of mixed structures in the west
To the west the focus is on the development of mixed structures while retaining the premises of those companies already operating there. Structural extensions will primarily be built along the road and in this way, commercial uses will, where possible, be able to continue without restrictions. Furthermore, there will still be opportunities for companies to build larger premises on the construction sites. To the west, a closed structure along the road marks the end of the development area at Ludwig Landmann Strasse.

Structure following the course of the road to the south of the LRT line
Integrating the existing residential building at the corner of Solmsstrasse and An der Dammheide, south of the LRT line the system of structures that follow the course of the road will be adopted.

Social infrastructure and local supplies

Day care centers
Given approximately 2,500 new residential units in the area, some 12 groups will be needed to look after children under here years old, and 16 groups for children of kindergarten age (three to six years). To this end, a total of six nurseries, each with its own open space, will be built in the new residential complex.
The nurseries will each take the form of facilities that are integrated in a building complex. In terms of surface area, they will be subordinate to the main facility. For this reason, the exact location of the nurseries will not be determined, just their size in the respective construction area. In the design of the structure, depending on the concept this enables the nursery to be suitably positioned and the open spaces to be located accordingly.

Elementary school
Calculations suggest that the planned new residential units will mean an additional 94 pupils per school year. This figure is an approximate mathematical value that will ultimately be determined by the ratio of residential to commercial facilities in the “urban areas”.
Furthermore there has been a considerable increase in the number of pupils in neighboring elementary school areas, triggering a marked increase in the need for elementary school places. The elementary school section of Georg Büchner School in the vicinity cannot accommodate these pupils as it has no further capacity. As such, another elementary school is needed in the development.
A four-section elementary school will be located in the middle of the area and be able to be built in one of the first construction stages. The school will be in the middle of the quarter, which as a structural “clasp” links the western and eastern parts of the quarter.
The elementary school will be in a building block that reflects its urban setting. The traditional image of a stand-alone school with fenced grounds becomes that of the school as an integral part of vibrant public life in a mixed-use block.
In addition to the educational facility, the building ensemble will also feature apartments. With the “hybrid school”, learning and living will occur directly next and/or above each other. Because in such a complex model diverse interrelationships take effect – with opportunities and restrictions – as far as opening out, interweaving and the need for protection are concerned, the facilities the school needs must be precisely defined at an early stage.
In preparation for the new elementary school, a planning process for viable school construction projects at elementary level took place, which will be implemented together with investors.
As part of this planning, over the course of 2018 all fundamental criteria and requirements for the building housing the new elementary school in the development area were formulated. E Together with representatives from schools, the local authorities, parents and pupils, who were all involved in the general debate about the planning framework for elementary schools in Frankfurt/Main, key points relating to the construction of a new school in a built-up inner-city area were precisely defined. Taking educational and spatial aspects into consideration, the results formulate robust quantitative and qualitative stipulations with regard to further planning. Furthermore, the results were an aspect of the restricted realization competition for the construction of two new mixed-use building complexes and urban design ideas for a neighborhood plaza.

The roof of the gymnasium serves as a playground for the elementary school, © moka-studio

Local shops and facilities
Because previously the area was used commercially, apart from wholesalers who also sell to end consumers there are no established local shops and facilities in place. In the surroundings as well there are residential areas that are further than 600 meters (supposedly reachable on foot) from the next supermarket, specifically the “Postsiedlung” in the west, the development to the north of Rödelheimer Landstrasse, and the southern part of “Industriehof”.
So that these residents have access to basic supplies close to where they live, a local supply facility is envisaged in the development area. It will be in a central location facing the neighborhood plaza and as such will help to enliven the quarter. In terms of numbers the location, together with the planned link to the City West district, could also attract further potential customers within walking distance.