Commerzbank Tower: The world’s first “Green Building”
Many visitors to Frankfurt enjoy the grand view over the city offered by the Commerzbank Tower, completed in 1997, Germany’s highest office building. For eight years, the architect Kai Thiele has regularly been hosting tours up to the 49th floor, housing the Board of Managing Directors. Frequently, he himself is overcome by enthusiasm: “The building is not only beautiful to look at, it also functions absolutely excellently”. Especially impressive is the energy quality of the design from the early 90s, with which his famous fellow architect Lord Norman Foster anticipated the term “green building”. “The Commerzbank Tower in Frankfurt am Main”, said Foster in a Federal Ministry for Environment publication, “is a symbolic and functional, ‘green’ building. Though it has climate control, it uses a natural ventilation system for reducing energy consumption – something which makes it the world’s first ecological skyscraper”. Its special construction feature: the facade has two shells for the air to freely circulate between them. Another special feature was added on January 1, 2008: the building is supplied entirely with green electricity (see here).
The skyscraper’s gardens provide additional ecological touches: Three each of them are situated in the east, south, and west of the building and offer ideal climatic conditions to the various plants. Sycamores, cypresses, and a redwood tree reach up to the 16-metre high glass ventilation flaps. Since 2008, the “highest position” on the building, the roof of the 57th floor has been home to a pair of rare and endangered peregrine falcons, tenderly cared for by the building’s manager Peter Muschelknautz.