Frankfurt is currently undergoing a dramatic transformation. With numerous new developments around Opernplatz and Goethestraße, an expansion and upgrading of the entire Opera Quarter is taking place with ma|ro at its centre.
With two buildings on Neue Mainzer Strasse, the seven-storey ma|ro forms a changed entrance to Neue Rothofstrasse and a top address for offices in a prime location and for high-quality retail.
The retail and restaurant areas offer first-class space for 12 shops and gastronomy on around 3,800 m² with their large shop window fronts over two floors and a ceiling height of up to five metres. The building was completed in November 2016. The office tenants have moved into flexibly divisible spaces totalling 8,600 m².
The design makes use of the complicated geometry of the plots and their various connecting heights to the neighbours for two buildings whose formal language is reminiscent of the fleeting stacking of boxes. Hastily placed, provisionally stacked on top of each other, sometimes on a gap, sometimes jumping forward, then back, seemingly without system. Thus the boxes pile up to a height of 32 metres.
The projections and recesses at the corners of the two gatehouses are finely tuned to each other and emphasise their mutually aligned references. The upper projection of the NM80 in particular manages to pull the houses out of an all-too-predictable backward stagger. I like this re-bristling plasticity.
A cantilevered glass roof above the first floor separates the shop windows of the retail spaces from the office floors above and offers the stroller protection from the weather in front of the shop windows.
A three-storey underground car park provides space for 43 cars.