European Central Bank by Coop Himmelb(l)au


Work starts next spring on the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany, designed by Austrian architects Coop Himmelb(l)au.

Coop Himmelb(l)au won a competition to design the bank's new headquarters in 2005 with their 185 metre tall, double-towered proposal.

The bank is due to open in 2014.

More Coop Himmelb(l)au stories on Dezeen:

Pavilion 21 MINI Opera Space by Coop Himmelb(l)au
House of Music by Coop Himmelb(l)au
Art Museum Strongoli by Coop Himmelb(l)au
China Insurance Group headquarters by Coop Himmelb(l)au
High School #9 by Coop Himmelb(l)au

Here's more from Coop Himmelb(l)au:


Construction of the new premises of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany, to start in spring 2010

The Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) informed today during a press conference about the positive outcome of the Europe-wide public tendering procedure and announced that therefore construction of the main construction works for its new premises will start in spring 2010.

Following the announcement, Wolf D. Prix, Design Principal and CEO of COOP HIMMELB(L)AU, said: “It is always an exciting moment when an idea becomes reality. We are very pleased about the decision of the Governing Council of the ECB that the new bank headquarters will now be built. I believe that it is not only an important building for us, but also for the European Union, because the building will be one of the important three- dimensional signs of the European Community. I am also proud that we will realize the project without any curtailments or compromises within the given budget.”

In 2008, the Council of the European Central Bank decided for a tender process with distinct invitations. The first eight packages, namely main structure work, site work, elevators, facades, roofing, height-access systems and mechanical and electrical services, were sent out to tender over the course of 2009. As reported during the press conference, these eight packages consist of 44 lots and constitute around 80% of the building costs. The bids submitted by construction companies for those first packages are within the budget. The contracts with the construction companies will be signed early next year, with the goal to start the main construction works in spring followed by the release of the remaining tender packages.

COOP HIMMELB(L)AU won the competition for the new premises of the European Central Bank in 2005. The project is located in Frankfurt’s Ostend and will be built at the site of the Grossmarkthalle (wholesale market). At a height of around 185 meters, the double tower - with its polygonal shape and east-west orientation - has a striking profile that is visible from all important reference points in Frankfurt’s city center, as well as from the river Main. The imposing form of the Grossmarkthalle unites with the vertical profile of the towers to form a significant ensemble that considers both the local urban design environment and the general urban spatial context, thus creating a tension between Frankfurt’s banking district and the Ostend area. The opening of the European Central Bank is scheduled for 2014.

Posted on Friday December 18th 2009 at 12:51 pm by Brad Turner. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • m

    ah, so this is how the project might look from 400m distance?

  • I Can Has Cheeseburger

    This is fugly!

  • Boo

    Just amazing that men want to stick the sky with a penis! Yet another ugly erection.

  • Yeah, I would much rather see a banking crevasse. A corporate canyon is much more PC nowadays, right?

    Give me a break ‘Boo’. Just because it makes optimal use of land, as in where the skyscraper started, doesn’t make it phallic. Should we become angry with a lone tree, rock cairn, or mountain peak? Heaven forbid the project manager was a woman.

    I would like to see at least a floor plan of sorts. Knowing these guys, something rather fantastic is going on in that core. If only we could see this project, just not a few far away snapshots…

  • Stochastic

    It is amazing how brand name architects seems to have the “license” to keep producing ugly buildings. It seems and appears to be a birthright. All you need is to achieve the initial fame first, and then the work can just go downhill from there. Once you have your fame and legacy secured, keep the eyesores rollin’….

  • angry catalan

    What’s interesting about this project?

  • kudz

    Boo, here on earth, that should not remind anyone of a (human) penis, but im sure u’ll see a real one, one day. it is fugly tho.

  • XDustinX

    This is really disappointing…. I guess I expect more from Coop…

  • kaptnk


    They are bankers…

  • Vanessa Blovnne

    What a beautiful erection! Lovely!!!

  • sucuno

    So I would assume for those offering the erect penis critique, a tower of any kind would be seen as unacceptable….?

  • m


    well, you can’t deny that the typology is pure alpha male architecture. The plot doesn’t exactly suffer from a lack of space, does it?

  • angry catalan

    @ m: Cut the crap. You could say a Corinthian column is also phallic but they were used for their feminine qualities – while Doric columns, which are less “towerly” and thus less phallic, were used for their masculine qualities. If this tower is phallic then you could say women (who stereotypically have more vertical proportions than men) are penis-shaped, which is a pretty stupid thing to say. What this is is a ugly building which doesn’t look interesting presented in a way that offers no information whatsoever about its possible qualities.

  • Mike

    Oh god! The architects decided to design a vertical building! It must be a Freudian intention of alpha male dominance! That must be why architects use phallic-shaped pencils and pens, too! And why plotter rolls are long like penises! Now I get it!

    Let’s make vagina buildings instead! Then feminism can finally *penetrate* the field of architecture! Yay!

  • sucuno


    The way you phrased your response, you are reaffirming my point. You are saying that the typology or building type is “pure alpha male.” That means that this gender characterization would apply to all vertically organized buildings because they would fall into the category of this typology. Is it phallic?…I guess, then you could say all towers are.
    But isn’t that a vast oversimplification. I would hope that people could be a little more sophisticated with their comments.
    For example, your second sentence is a valid question for assessing the successes or failures of this project. How appropriate is this type in its context…
    But in the end, I dont think there is ever enough content on these sites to really offer any kind of intelligent critique. But I think you were getting at this problem in your comment at the beginning of this conversation thread.

  • saigontom


    given this was conceived back in 2005, id say Coop would make it a do-over if they had the chance… given the many ground-breaking office towers in frankfurt already this one’s a bit same-samey

  • willem

    was this architects cooperation aware of the existing beautiful grossmarkthalle building? didn’t they see it?? it would be a lesson in how to make a extremely big building in very precise architectural quality.
    funny x 10 gives not always big fun!!

  • judge

    they are old, need money.
    money, money, money.


    Oh, look like a penis! Horror! God! It’s just another macho building! Might we speak about architecture instead of doing therapy showing psychological limitations? I imagine that there are some other and more appropriate forums (and pertinent) for psychoanalytic levities. Stop all this demagoguery! This architecture can be valid or not itself, let’s speak about it, not about psychological interpretations. What a drama…

  • rashid

    remind me of this

  • Q

    …whoever “did” this should be banned from doing architecture

  • PeeWeen

    I usually cannot relate to Coop, but this one is one of their best!

  • clemente

    i guess you guys have never seen a penis, such stupid comments.

    or is yours cut in the middle and edgy? oh maybe it is, like the rest of your body.

  • I don’t think Coop owes this or any other blog detailed shots. I’m sure the client who actually paid them received them.

    As to the Phallic comments: I think it looks a lot more like a rock formation than a penis. Anyone seen El Cap?