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Niederrad am Main

Concept for socially responsible quarter development

Masterplan, Housing
District: Local district:
Size of area:
37 ha
Project management:

Mr. Christoph Packhieser
Telefon: +49 (0)69 212 30477
Telefax: +49 (0)69 212 30731

Project description

Reason for planning
Built between 1968 and 1972, the Im Mainfeld residential estate no longer meets the requirements associated with a modern city, with existing buildings and urban fabric decidedly in need of a facelift.
In an effort to improve the residents’ housing and living conditions, in 2005 the Im Mainfeld estate was included in the “Active Neighborhood” scheme. The results of this measure are currently being evaluated.
At the same time, new urban development opportunities were also examined for Niederrad’s northern edge, which extends beyond the high-rise estate.

Development district
The 37-hectare planning area embraces the northern periphery of Frankfurt’s Niederrad district. It is delimited by the River Main to the north, the university hospital complex and to the south of it Schleusenweg to the east, the extension of Trifelstrasse to the west and Niederrad’s old town center (western part of Schwanheimerstrasse and Kelsterbacherstrasse) to the south.

Planning objectives
Since the resolution on “Giving Mainfeld in Niederrad a new Perspective” was passed, three of the six residential high-rises on the Im Mainfeld estate have been modernized.

In early 2017, the fourth residential tower, Im Mainfeld 5, was prepared for modernization. In addition, a new two-story nursery will be built to the rear of the building. As with those residential high-rises that have already been refurbished, the ground floor will be converted for use as social infrastructure, and the entrance will be made considerably more attractive.

The existing Children’s Center 122 on Kelsterbacher Strasse will be replaced by a new build on the same site. When this is being built the Children’s Center 122 will temporarily relocate to containers on Bruchfeldplatz.

The existing youth center, the Mainfeldvilla, will move to the southern edge of, or into Elli Lucht Park.

There are plans to construct a new residential building on the previous site of the youth center and the surrounding area. The idea is for a mixture of communal and cooperative residential projects and senior citizens’ apartments. As a result, the existing senior citizens’ residence will become superfluous. A new plaza will take the place of the old building and create a point of transition from Elli Lucht Park to the Im Mainfeld residential estate. With a view to enlivening the plaza, those buildings bordering it could, in addition to small shops, accommodate the youth center on the ground floor.

In conjunction with the projects already outlined, by extending Elli Lucht Park in the direction of the River Main, flanked by new residential buildings, a new perspective can be opened up for the north of Niederrad.



Project progress
The findings from the Mainfeld debates and the concept for socially responsible district development by the owner of the housing estate (the company ABG Frankfurt Holding) were included in the M 72 motion tabled by the city executive. On May 11, 2015 the City Council approved the motion, which for the most part is being implemented as envisaged.

  • The refurbishment and energy-related modernization of the company’s six residential buildings will be concluded in summer 2019. All six edifices will also be given attractive new entrances.
  • As announced, next to Im Mainfeld 5 a new nursery was built, which opened in January 2019. Geothermal energy is used for the heating and cooling. Unlike originally intended, the new nursery will not be needed as temporary alternative accommodation for Child Center 122, but from the outset provides child care places in Niederrad, 24 places for children under the age of 3 and 63 children of kindergarten age.
  • At Mainfeld 7 an extension is currently being added to the new nursery, enabling it to expand and become a child and family center. It is due to be completed in July 2019. The original concept for the development of the Mainfeld quarter did not feature the new structure, though it did a family café, which will now be realized as part of this project and include a spacious outside terrace.
  • The site for Child Center 122 is in the direct vicinity. The existing building will be demolished and replaced by a new build. As temporary accommodation, containers will be positioned on Bruchfeld, which on the commissioning of Child Center 122 will be redesigned.
  • With the City Planning Department acting as lead, in cooperation with ABG and an external landscape planning studio, an extensive action plan was prepared for improvements to the living environment on the Mainfeld estate, which in addition to the grounds surrounding the residential high-rises, the hostel, and the paths through the estate also include the area outside the youth center. Important key points were the general improvement of the overall setting, better facilities for the youngsters, the opening up of the estate to the district and a design that enables a high degree of social control and impacts positively of the residents’ sense of security. The residents of the estate, in particular youth, weee involved in the preparation of the action plan. There were tours of the quarter, a residents’ survey was conducted, and the youngsters filmed a video to express their wishes. With the plan of action in place, planning of its execution in the estate was instigated. This can only take place, however, when the bomb disposal team has completed its work.
  • In direkter Nachbarschaft des Jugendtreffs wird derzeit ein Provisorium der KGS Niederrad errichtet, das nach Fertigstellung eines Neubaus auf dem Gelände der ehemaligen Salzmannschule für quartiersbezogenen Entwicklungen zur Verfügung stehen wird.
  • In the direct vicinity of the youth center (the former dog exercise area and parts of a leased garden) a temporary building for the Niederrad Cooperative Comprehensive School (KGS) is currently being built on municipal land.
  • When the new building housing the KGS-Niederrad on Bruchfeldplatz (Salzmannschule) is finished, the land on which the temporary building stands will be available for quarter-related developments.

You will find further information in PARLIS (the parliamentary information system of the City of Frankfurt/Main) under M 72 from 2015.

More information

Competition results

"Niederrad am Main" urban development competition

The assignment for the “Niederrad am Main” ideas competition organized by the City of Frankfurt’s Urban Planning Department was to develop ideas for the future of the Niederrad district and the Mainfeld complex. The project title (Niederrad on the Main) references two of the main objectives: Niederrad was to be brought closer to the River Main; and the riverside road was to no longer be regarded as a border between the district and the river bank.

The planning assignment was put out for tender across Europe in an open, two-stage urban development ideas competition.
Of the 54 entries submitted, 15 were short-listed for further development in the second stage of the competition.
On May 26, 2010 the jury, comprising urban planners, architects, politicians, and businessmen, awarded two second prizes and two third prizes to entries that had been short-listed. It also honored a further three with commendations.

None of the plans provided a conclusive answer as to how the high-rises in the Mainfeld complex should be dealt with in the future. Viable plans were drawn up which envisage the residential high-rises being retained and upgraded, while some concepts proposed a fundamentally new approach. For this reason, despite the high quality of the entries the jury failed to award a first prize.

The winners are:

2nd prize
ANP Architektur- und Planungsgesellschaft mbH, Kassel
( 28,500)

2nd prize
Jo. Franzke Architekten, Frankfurt/Main
with Rainer Schmidt Landschaftsarchitekten GmbH, Berlin
( 28,500)

3rd prize
BS + städtebau und architektur, Frankfurt/Main
with el:ch landschaftsarchitekten, Munich
( 17,500)

3rd prize
CB Landschaften, Berlin
with o5 architekten + ingenieure, Frankfurt/Main
( 17,500)

Recommendations (each worth 6,433) were awarded to:

  • Siegmüller.vodde, Berlin with Kuula Landschaftsarchitekten, Berlin
  • Trojan Trojan + Partner, Darmstadt with Heide Landschaftsarchitekten, Frankfurt/Main
  • M. Hähnig, M. Gemmeke Dipl.-Ing. Freie Architekten BDA, Tübingen with S. Fromm Dipl.-Ing. Freier Garten und Landschaftsarchitekt, Dettenhausen

2nd prize
ANP Architektur- und Planungsgesellschaft mbH, Kassel

The jury's verdict on the entry

The entry is essentially dominated by the continued construction of the predominant types of building: Stand-alone buildings, terraced houses, perimeter blocks and linear structures. To the east and west, six to eight-storey stand-alone blocks will be added to the “Im Mainfeld” estate.

The demolition of two existing high-rises and the senior citizens’ home creates open space that can be put to good use. By closing the access road “Im Mainfeld”, which runs parallel to the “Niederräder Ufer” road, the planners propose creating new real estate that can be developed for residential purposes. At the same time, access traffic is diverted away from the estate and consistently concentrated on the bordering access road.
Redirecting the access traffic will enhance the quality of residential living in the quarter, although the proposal shows no evidence of particularly high-quality open spaces. The manner in which the residential stand-alone buildings are configured seems somewhat arbitrary and must be revised.

Isometric view, © ANP Architektur- und Planungsgesellschaft mbH, Kassel

The northern part of the “old town” in Niederrad is surrounded by terraced houses, which fit in well with the structure of the parcels of land and the buildings. The construction of a linear structure gives the university teaching hospital building a new outer edge, which also provides the requisite flexibility for development within it. Elli Lucht Park is extended northwards to the River Main. The configuration of the gardens on the northeastern boundary manifests the way the structure will open up towards the River Main. To the east, a “stepping stone” extends the park to Deutschordenstraße.

The qualities associated with living in and by a park that the planners emphasize are realized in a plausible manner, provided, that is, that the open spaces between the stand-alone buildings are of a high quality. Access to the “Im Mainfeld” estate features the consistent redirecting of traffic to the perimeters of the zone, the creation of cul-de-sacs, and decentralized approaches to underground car parks. Moving the above-ground parking spaces on the road “Niederräder Ufer” is not a convincing option. The creation of groups of houses and footpaths to them across the area of greenery is welcomed and can be expected to result in increased communication between the inhabitants. The plot earmarked for the district plaza is not sufficiently structured for this purpose, and its necessity is questionable.

Detailed drawing, © ANP Architektur- und Planungsgesellschaft mbH, Kassel

Overall, the proposal stands out for the consistent traffic calming and represents a possible strategy for transforming the high-rise estate into a residential quarter that is in tune with the times and boasts a new aura and look.

2nd prize
Jo. Franzke Architekten, Frankfurt/Main with
Rainer Schmidt Landschaftsarchitekten GmbH, Berlin

The jury's verdict on the entry

The plan stands out for the fact that the “Niederräder Ufer” road is transformed into an attractive city street, which is developed on both sides and at the same time functions as a link and access road. The development, which faces the River Main, is rhythmically interrupted, allowing pathways and views from “Niederräder Ufer” to the banks of the river in numerous places.

The jury is very critical of the street-level zone, which is envisaged as a continuous parking level. In the west a roundabout, as well as various communal facilities and service providers create a “gateway” at the start of the development on both sides of the road. The roundabout and the numerous north-south pedestrian crossings along the “Niederräder Ufer” slow down road traffic.

Isometric view, © Jo.Franzke Architekten, Frankfurt am Main mit Rainer Schmidt Landschaftsarchitekten GmbH, Berlin

The existing parks (Elli-Lucht-Park and at Haardtwaldplatz) are spaciously opened up towards the River Main. Elli-Lucht-Park is extended as far as Deutschordenstrasse, creating a green link with the racecourse. Kniebisstrasse is extended to the River Main and transformed into a boulevard. A continuous pathway is proposed along the riverbank; whereas the facilities of the water sports clubs that lead down to the riverbank are left intact, the club houses are to be moved to the “Niederräder Ufer” and housed in the low platform of buildings proposed there. Even though this suggestion will certainly not be easy to realize, the considerable advantages that can be expected justify shouldering the difficulties. The suggestion that the two childcare centers be positioned at the point of transition to the heart of the old district guarantees social intermingling between its residents and those in the new development. A perimeter block development is planned for the middle section.

The proposal envisages several residential buildings along the extension to Schleusenweg, attractively located to face Elli-Lucht-Park are proposed. In the first construction stage this will enable additional apartments to be built without existing ones being demolished. However, to avoid problems emerging with regard to public and private domains, the private gardens extending as far as the park will have to be clearly demarcated, e.g., raised.

Detailed drawing, © Jo.Franzke Architekten, Frankfurt am Main mit Rainer Schmidt Landschaftsarchitekten GmbH, Berlin

The use of parts of the flood plain envisaged in the plan must be avoided (for example by realigning the new road along the riverbank or increasing the angle of the course it takes). How the existing sewer beneath the “Niederräder Ufer” road can be integrated into the proposal is likewise something requiring further elaboration.

On balance, the plan represents an interesting opportunity for linking Niederrad with the River Main and alleviating the divisive effect created by the current riverside road.


Model of the proposed new residential buildings, © stadt.bau.plan

Based on the results of the previous planning workshops for the Niederrad district and the results of the urban design ideas competition staged in 2009-10, the City Planning Department produced two versions of an urban development concept. This assumes that to a large extent the existing estate will be preserved and makes proposals for how to improve the new housing that will subsequently be built and for how to improve the open spaces in and access to the Mainfeld estate.
The advantages and disadvantages of the two versions were discussed with the tenants, interested citizens, and local politicians in three “Mainfeld Discussions”. Key issues were the proposals for a new central plaza for the Mainfeld estate, the proposals for new residential buildings and for the expansion of Elli Lucht Park.
All three events were held in Kulturzentrum Mainfeld at Im Mainfeld 6.