Deutsche Bank Towers

>> Frankfurt Skyline Countdown # 14 <<        

The two towers of the Deutsche Bank are highly reflective buildings, in fact one of them is reflected in the other in this photo.

When they were completed in 1984 the neighbors in the Westend district were irritated because those on the east saw the sun rise in the west, and those on the west saw it set in the east. The local newspapers were full of this at the time.

Because they are so reflective, the color of these buildings depends on where you are looking from. In my first photo, which I took at street level, they look blue because they reflect the sky, but from above — what do you think they will look like?

(Guess before scrolling down.)

Deutsche Bank Towers from above

From above they look black because they reflect the ground. I never really believed this until I went up to the top of the Main Tower one morning and looked for myself.

Color photo on an overcast day

Of course, on a completely overcast day the towers look grey from below, reflecting the grey sky.

The base building as seen from the Main Tower

The two Deutsche Bank towers are 158 and 155 meters tall. They both rise out of a common four-story base building, which is also reflective. From ground level, it is hard to figure out the shape of this base building, because everything reflects everything else, but from above (from the Main Tower or the aerial photography on Google Maps) its shape reminds me of a seventeenth-century Vauban fortress, looking as though it was intended to ward off attacks from the surrounding neighborhood.

The building industry websites disagree among themselves about whether to treat this complex as one building or two. For the purposes of this Countdown, I am listing it as just one building and ranking it as the fourteenth tallest in Frankfurt, because the higher of the two towers is 158 meters tall.

Everybody working in these towers had to move out from 2007 to 2010 so the buildings could be modernized to comply with current building and fire-safety regulations. Completely new air conditioning, water and lighting technology was installed, with the goal of reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions in the buildings by at least 50%.

Friedrich Schiller ignoring the Deutsche Bank Towers

“Deutsche Bank” simply means “German Bank”, but it is a private bank, not a government one, and in the current phase of globalization it isn’t even particularly German any more. A few years ago, before Brexit, they were considering moving their headquarters to London, which caused quite an outcry in Germany.

Although the Deutsche Bank goes to great lengths to project a serious image, it is widely considered a rogue bank. Currently (in the autumn of 2020), the local papers are reporting allegations of systematic money laundering in the service of dictators and drug syndicates. In earlier years, the Deutsche Bank was in the news because its co-chairman and two of his predecessors were on trial in Munich, accused of attempted fraud for allegedly making false statements and conspiring to deceive judges in an earlier trial. In another controversy, the Deutsche Bank paid $2.5 billion to American and British authorities to settle a dispute over the manipulation of benchmark interest rates. And in the 1990s, the Deutsche Bank was known as the only bank that was still willing to lend money to the bankrupt real estate speculator Donald Trump, after most other banks had decided he was a poor credit risk.

Friedrich Schiller still ignoring the Deutsche Bank Towers

The German dramatist, poet and historian Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805) seems to have demonstratively turned his back on the Deutsche Bank Towers.

My photos in this post are from 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2020. I revised the text in 2020.

Next: Frankfurt Skyline countdown # 13.

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