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New European Central Bank building

The European Central Bank’s two glass towers in Frankfurt am Main are ready for occupancy.

© picture-alliance/dpa - European Central Bank

It is a gigantic three-dimensional symbol for Frankfurt, Germany and the European Union. As a towering new landmark in eastern Frankfurt, the building of the European Central Bank (ECB) represents a visual extension to the inner-city skyline. The design for the substantial two towers that rise over the protected monument of the former wholesale market hall comes from the Viennese architects’ office Coop Himmelb(l)au. Wolf D. Prix, owner and chief executive of the office, is a football fan. When it comes to the history of the building it has been said that the design was developed in a similar way to the fascinating game of Prix’s favourite club, FC Barcelona. The weekly news magazine Der Spiegel reported, “Using playful short passes, the office developed a basic form of building that involves a tall rectangular block turning on itself. Originally, however, it lacked a touch of inspired madness, the impetus of a Messi – until someone had the idea of making a slanting cut from top to bottom through the block. Then one half of the block was apparently lifted, turned on its longitudinal axis and put down again.”

The President’s office is on the 40th floor under the Council Chamber

The 185- and 165-metre-high glass towers have been ready for occupancy since November 2014. They offer space for a total of 2,900 employees, and 700 have already moved in. The Council Chamber, probably the most important room, is situated on the 41st floor and offers a spectacular view with glass facades on three sides. This is where the governors of Europe’s central banks will soon be meeting to make interest-rate decisions. The ceiling is decorated with a stylised map of Europe. Directly under the Council Chamber, in the southern tower, there are three floors for the Executive Board of the ECB, one of them alone for President Mario Draghi and the Vice-President. It is not yet been announced when Draghi will be moving in.