Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners: Halle 3, Messe Frankfurt am Main
Text in English and German. The internationally known British architect Nicholas Grimshaw is better than almost anyone else at making structural and architectural requirements cohere in his High-Tech buildings. And his most recent building, Hall 3 of the Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre, one of Europe's largest exhibition halls, covering 220 X 120 m, is particularly striking because it combines architecture and engineering so ingeniously. Six gigantic steel girders looking like the skeleton of a dinosaur span the 160 m length of the two-storey exhibition area 45 m above the ground, making a total of 40000 m2 available. The roof structure makes luxurious daylight illumination possible for the upper storey, and this is also continued on the ground floor, as the light is handled so skilfully. The architects have confronted this roof structure, which is delicate despite its size, with two solid four-storey foyer and access blocks at the ends. Thus Grimshaw blends high-tech lightness with traditional mass. The mezzanine level between the two exhibition levels contains technical equipment and also a large number of work-stations with computer facilities. And of course the building, which concludes the large central 'Agora' of the Centre on its south side, is connected to the internal access system of the site, the 'Via Mobile'. The hall does not simply function as a logistical architectural key for the firms exhibiting there, but can also be used for political, cultural and other events. It enhances the architectural landscape of the Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre, which includes Helmut Jahn's Messeturm, the Torhaus, the Galleria and the Halle 9 designed by Oswald Mathias Ungers as well as Friedrich von Thiersch's Festhalle from the beginning of this century, by adding another significant landmark building. The Messe Frankfurt itself sees this building as the first step towards a new infrastructural dimension, as it has for some time now had the chance to expand further south on disused railway land. The internationally known architecture and design historian Volker Fischer was vice director of the Deutsches Architekturmuseum in Frankfurt for over 10 years. Since 1995 he has been building up a new design department in the Museum fur Kunsthandwerk in Frankfurt; in addition to his museum work he teaches history of architecture and design at the Hochschule fur Gestaltung in Offenbach. Waltraud Krase studied at the Fachakademie fur Fotodesign in Munich and lives in Frankfurt am Main. She has photographed buildings by many prominent architects, among them Max Dudler, Frank O. Gehry, James Stirling and Oswald mathias Ungers.
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Nicholas Grimshaw Partners
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