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Frankfurt-based architects Gruber + Kleine-Kraneburg planning new Hall 5 for Messe Frankfurt

Apr 25, 2017

Total cost for modernising exhibition grounds to exceed one billion euros

A design by Frankfurt architectural office Gruber + Kleine-Kraneburg for replacing Hall 5 during normal operations has been selected by Messe Frankfurt. As Uwe Behm, Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt, explains: “The new Hall 5 is to be a part of our master plan for modernising our exhibition grounds, in which we will be investing more than one billion euros in total. For Messe Frankfurt, it is above all business aspects that are the main focus in building the new Hall 5. The project involves replacing the existing Hall 5, which still fulfils its function but is outdated from a construction point of view. Owing to the complexity of demolishing a building that is closely woven into the architecture of the grounds and situated directly adjacent to the Congress Center, Hall 6 and the Via Mobile moving walkway, we need an architectural office whose team can be on location quickly whenever necessary. With this in mind, we consciously approached local architectural offices here in Frankfurt who had qualified by taking part in the competitions for the South Entrance and Hall 12. As we are not building on an outdoor area – as is the case with Hall 12, for example – it is vital for us to have maximum planning precision while examining the existing structures.”

The underlying conditions for the new Hall 5 have been defined exactly except for a small number of secondary aspects. For example, the building will have the same floor plan and two-level design as the existing Hall 5. As well as this, no changes are to be made to the Via Mobile, the moving walkway system for transporting trade fair visitors. One marked improvement will be the column-free design of the first exhibition level, which will once again be adjacent to the large Harmonie hall in the CMF on the same level. In total, however, there is less leeway for design than with architectural icons like Halls 3, 11 and 12 or the Portalhaus, which have a greater visual impact towards the neighbouring Europaviertel and Kuhwaldsiedlung districts.

One key challenge relates to site logistics, namely that the Via Mobile and the Agora outdoor area at the heart of the eastern part of the exhibition grounds must remain fully operative for events during the demolition and subsequent construction phase. This means that deliveries must be made primarily via the northern part of the exhibition grounds, from the direction of Theodor-Heuss-Allee.

In order to ensure that the project remains on schedule, the construction will consist mainly of precast concrete elements which are manufactured industrially at another location and then delivered via heavy duty transporter on the exact day they are needed.

Architect Martin Gruber, one of the partners in Gruber + Kleine-Kraneburg Architekten, comments: “We are delighted that Messe Frankfurt has chosen our design for its new Hall 5. Having participated in the competition for the new South Entrance, we have already been able to garner experience and familiarise ourselves with Messe Frankfurt’s expectations as a client.”

One of the main reasons why the trade fair company decided on this design was the excellent solution that it proposed for connecting the adjacent building and the Via Mobile, as well as the ideas for designing the foyer areas and the façade. This clear, confident and – in the best possible sense – simple design is currently being developed further.

The existing Hall 5 will be demolished as of the end of 2019 once modernisation work has been completed on the adjacent Hall 6. The new Hall 5, the design for which also includes a photovoltaic system in the roof, is to be completed by the end of 2022.

Background information on Messe Frankfurt
Messe Frankfurt is the world’s largest trade fair, congress and event organiser with its own exhibition grounds. With some 2,400 employees at 30 locations, the company generates annual sales of over €640 million. Thanks to its far-reaching ties with the relevant sectors and to its international sales network, the Group looks after the business interests of its customers effectively. A comprehensive range of services – both onsite and online – ensures that customers worldwide enjoy consistently high quality and flexibility when planning, organising and running their events. The wide range of services includes renting exhibition grounds, trade fair construction and marketing, personnel and food services.
With its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, the company is owned by the City of Frankfurt (60 percent) and the State of Hesse (40 percent).