Page D1.2 . 13 September 2000                     
ArchitectureWeek - Design Department
  • Illuminating Foster
  • New Museum Celebrates the American Fleet
  • Mockbee Southern Genius

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    Illuminating Foster


    Blendwork also created "The Color Fleece," a large painting in the building's lobby. At 2300 square feet (210 square meters), it is reputedly the largest painting in the world. What the viewer sees in the painting depends on the viewer's position and changes with the light throughout the day. In a monograph describing the process of creating this painting, Emde wrote about the building:

    "Unlike the other towers [in Frankfurt], the building by Norman Foster executes a new double movement. On the one hand, the building reaches up apparently endlessly to the sky, seemingly lifting up from the ground and departing from it. At the same time, it lifts nine gardens up into the heights.

    "The building takes whole trees with it, removing plants from the ground, with its connotations of closeness to nature and roots in the soil. This reflects the duality of the building, for as trees always strive upwards and grow towards and into the light, so also does the tower.

    "In this way, the Commerzbank building modifies the simple law of roots in the soil. Nature is a simulated living space floating in the heights, reflecting the duality of the tower. The building replaces the necessity to root the trees in the earth, by taking them up and growing with them towards the light."

    —from "The Colour Fleece by Thomas Emde in the Commerzbank Building"

    Project Credits

    Client: Commerzbank Ag
    Architect: Foster and Partners
    Light Design: Thomas Emde and Blendwork

    Consulting engineers:
    Ove Arup & Partners with Krebs & Kiefer
    Roger Preston & Partners with Pettersen & Ahrends
    Schad & Hölzel
    Jappsen & Stangier
    Davis Langdon & Everest
    Quickborner Team


    ArchWeek Photo

    The light installation gives the impression of transparency to the building at night as well as during the day.
    Photo: Bianconero

    ArchWeek Photo

    Every office worker has a green view. In this case, down across the atrium to one of the gardens.
    Photo: Rudi Meisel

    ArchWeek Photo

    From the outside, Emde's new lighting installation gives the gardens a warm yellow glow.
    Photo: Bianconero

    ArchWeek Photo

    A view to the top from inside the atrium.
    Photo: Bianconero

    ArchWeek Photo

    The central atrium provides natural ventilation throughout this "ecological high-rise."
    Image: Foster and Partners

    ArchWeek Photo

    The building's triangular plan encircles a central atrium that works as a "natural ventilation chimney."
    Image: Foster and Partners

    ArchWeek Photo

    Thomas Emde's uplighting the facade emphasizes the verticality of Frankfurt's tallest building.
    Photo: Bianconero


    Click on thumbnail images
    to view full-size pictures.

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