I thought for a change to spend the day in Frankfurt am Main. I took the S bahn to the Hauptbanhof and then walked around the West End. There are many examples of bourgeois modernism and Gründerzeit (used as an architectural period).
The IG Farben Building has a complex history, but as with most buildings and artifacts, it is worth taking the time to visit in person, if that’s possible. Only then, for example, can the Travertine cladding be appreciated. The building has a steel frame and was built in the style of New Objectivity . It is now the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität.
It was a lovely sunny Saturday afternoon with hardly anyone around. It wasn’t clear to me from the noticeboards whether it was permitted to walk around (my knowledge of German isn’t sophisticated enough to understand local by-laws). But the main gate was open it felt easy-going and laid back.
I rather like the fact that it is not obvious (at least not to me) what is the front and what is the back of the building. When one thinks about it, often contemporary architecture doesn’t have a ‘front’ and a ‘back’. I wonder if the IG Farben Building was one of the first to introduce that?
I spent quite some time just looking at it, walking around it, and looking again.
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