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Active City House, Frankfurt

Category: multi-storey building
Construction period: September 2013 – June 2015

The new Active City and Plus-Energy House – an eight-storey reinforced concrete structure with timber-framed curtain wall elements, is the world’s biggest plus-energy building.


The aim behind this project was to apply the developments in the area of plus-energy single-family residences to a large-scale urban multi-storey apartment building for the first time, and to test their feasibility in this context.


The new building was planned in the context of the “ZukunftBau” (“FutureBuild”) research initiative, which is funded jointly by the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) and the Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning (BBR).


The ground floor of the building, which is intended for commercial use, is topped by seven storeys. The first six standard floors each contain 11 apartments. The seventh or top floor, which is recessed and surrounded by a large terrace, contains eight apartments. The structure culminates in a monopitch roof, which has a gradient of 10 degrees and is fitted with solar power modules. To maximize the space and create protected, shaded terrace areas, the roof protrudes over the long and narrow sides of the building. The façade on the south side of the building is slightly folded. This folding breaks up the length of the building and creates the necessary depth to accommodate the apartment plans in the rather shallow structure. In contrast, the north façade follows a straight line but is parsed by protruding balconies.


The eight-storey building is 150 m long and just 10 m wide. The site was long considered as unsuitable for building on and used as a car park. It now accommodates 74 apartments which provide a total of 6,750 square metres of living space.


This project shows that it is possible to build a plus-energy multistorey residence. This is mainly achieved in the Active City House with the help of the timber-framed elements. In view of the EU’s climate policy targets for 2020, clients would be well advised to adopt the plus-energy standard today.

Project participants:

HHS Architekten AG, Kassel –

Construction management
schneider + schumacher, Frankfurt –

Structural design
B+G Ingenieure, Frankfurt –