Photo: © Tillmann Franzen, tillmannfranzen.com


  • 1928 — 1931
  • Hans Poelzig


  • 2006

building typology

office and service buildings

Poelzig-Building, heute: Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main

The building designed by Hans Poelzig only served its original purpose as the central office of I. G. Farbenindustrie AG for some fifteen years. Emerging unscathed from World War II, the modern and monumental structure was used as American military headquarters for fifty years after 1945. Renamed the Poelzig Building after ist architect, it has been a part of the Westend campus of Frankfurt’s Johann Wolfgang Goethe University since 2001. Despite the renovation work carried out between 1998 and 2001, the building has largely preserved its original appearance.

Formed in 1925 from a merger of several German dye and chemical businesses, I. G. Farben was at the time the fourth largest company in the world. Prior to its construction, the firm acquired property measuring 140,000 square meters in Frankfurt’s present-day Westend District and held an architectural competition, which was won by Hans Poelzig in August 1928. While the architect met the brief of a “symbol, in iron and stone, of German commercial and scientific manpower,” he was also able to combine tradition and modernism in his signature style. The building’s steelframe structure with brick infill is concealed behind the façade of the 250-meter-long and 35-meter-high main building, clad in Cannstatt travertine.

Despite the building’s enormous volume of 280,000 cubic meters, the advanced construction method permitted the work to be completed in only two years. The interior fittings were designed by Hans Poelzig’s second wife Marlene Moeschke-Poelzig. The outdoor terraces with reflecting pool were planned by Hans Poelzig in collaboration with the director of Frankfurt’s horticultural office Max Bromme, the gardener Karl Foerster, and artists belonging to the Bornimer circle.

With its six wings connected by a slightly curved central corridor as well as the story height that decreases from the bottom up (from 4.6 to 4.2 meters), the main building hides its true size from view to some extent. The continuous band of windows lends the building an elegance that is anything but self-evident in a structure of this size while simultaneously ensuring natural lighting in all the rooms. In this regard as well, Hans Poelzig proved in Frankfurt once again that he was a master of modern large-scale architecture. [OH]


Contact and opening hours


Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Norbert-Wollheim-Platz 1
60323 Frankfurt am Main

The students of the initiative „Experience Campus“ offer individual tours for english-speaking groups. For further information and booking, please contact the Experience Campus team: info@experiencecampus.de

conveying formula

Directions by local public transport:

Vom Hauptbahnhof mit der S-Bahn, Linien S 1 - 9 bis „Hauptwache“, dann mit der U-Bahn, Linien U 1 - 3 oder 8 bis „Holzhausenstraße“ oder „Miquel-/Adickesallee“ dann ca. 10 Min. Fußweg oder mit der S-Bahn, Linien S 1 - 9 bis „Konstabler Wache“ dann mit dem Bus, Linie 36 (Richtung Westbahnhof) bis „Uni Campus Westend“. Oder Buslinie 64 ab Hauptbahnhof sowie Alte Oper bis Haltestelle „Bremer Straße“.
Die Busstation „Uni Campus Westend“ direkt vor dem IG-Farben-Haus wird von der Buslinie 36 angefahren. Sie verkehrt zwischen Westbahnhof (via Campus Bockenheim) und Sachsenhausen Hainer Weg.
Die Stationen Bremer Platz (IG-Farben-Haus) oder Bremer Straße (Gisèle‐Freund‐Platz) mit Buslinie 64 von Hauptbahnhof Südseite Richtung Ginnheim (9-10 min)
Station Max-Horkheimer-Straße (Seminarhaus, PEG & ExNO) mit Buslinie 75 von Bockenheimer Warte (6 min).
Station Miquel-/Hansaallee (Seminarpavillon) mit Buslinie 32 von West- bzw. Ostbahnhof (12 bzw. 16 min)

Book: Bauhaus 100 Sites of Modernism

Extraordinary sites associated with the Bauhaus and modernism can be found throughout Germany—pioneering architecture that has enduringly shaped our understanding of life and work, learning and living. This travel guide brings the historical and architectural traces of over 100 examples of Neues Bauen building to life, making tangible the impact of the historical Bauhaus beyond the school, its sites and its time.

Photo: © Tillmann Franzen, tillmannfranzen.com
Photo: © Tillmann Franzen, tillmannfranzen.com