>> Frankfurt Skyline Countdown # 12 <<
The Silver Tower used to be the headquarters of the Dresdner Bank, which was gobbled up by some other bank during a recent financial crisis. The building’s main tenant is now the Deutsche Bahn or DB, Germany’s labyrinthine state-owned railway corporation, which has over a thousand subsidiaries worldwide and can do just about everything but provide satisfactory train service. One of these subsidiaries, the IT company DB Systel GmbH, has its offices in the Silver Tower.
Construction of the Silver Tower was completed in 1978. The tower has 32 floors above ground and is 166.30 meters tall. From 1978 to 1990 it was Frankfurt’s (and Germany’s) tallest building; currently it is the twelfth tallest.
This tower is unusual because of its aluminium facade with curved corners. To me, this makes it look somewhat antiquated, like a 1950s automobile, but this design at least serves as a distinguishing feature, since most other Frankfurt skyscrapers have square corners.
Until 1994, the 31st floor of the Silver Tower included a water reservoir, ostensibly for use in case of fire, which doubled as a swimming pool for the top managers. Later this was replaced by a large conference room with floor-to-ceiling windows. In 1998 there really was a serious fire which destroyed part of the 32nd floor.
The German playwright, poet and historian Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805) seems no more impressed by the Silver Tower than by any of the other 20th and 21st century high-rise buildings that surround his statue in the strip of park called the Taunus Anlage in the center of Frankfurt. In my photo from 2006, the Silver Tower still sports the old Dresdner Bank logo, which hardly anyone recognizes today, in the position where the DB logo is now.
Just to get us up to date, here is a photo from 2020 (taken from the Europa-Allee) with the infamous DB logo on the Silver Tower. This logo caused a minor scandal when it was introduced in 1993 because the person who designed it was paid 200,000 DM (the Euro had not yet been invented) for a design that was not particularly different from the one they had been using all along. But it supposedly saved money because the letters were red on white instead of white on red, thus using less ink.
My photos in this post are from 2006 and 2020. I revised the text in 2020.
5 thoughts on “Silver Tower”
I used to think that DB was the epitome of German efficiency, but I’ve since found out that I was wrong.
It was quite efficient as recently as the 1980s, but then they turned it into a quasi-capitalist corporation (though 100% state-owned) and entrusted it to a caste of unscrupulous millionaire managers who knew nothing about running a railway.
And these conglomerates wonder why Joe Public aren’t happy. Transporting people around efficiently is one of the fundamental needs of an ever-growing world population – not making the bank balances grow of those ruining what was once a company to aspire to.
Hilarious) enjoyed it thoroughly, even though my experience of using DB services is zero
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To this day, visitors from places like the USA and Australia are still impressed by the train service in Germany, but those of us who live here are not so impressed, especially us older folks who remember how the system used to work in the 1970s and 80s. Also we have a brilliant example, right next door in Switzerland, of how a properly organized and funded railway system can function.