New Frankfurt

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The new city ​​coat of arms introduced during the project was a design by Hans Leistikow based on sketches by Ernst May

The New Frankfurt was an urban planning program between 1925 and 1930 that included all areas of urban design in Frankfurt am Main . It was best known for its housing construction activities, which eliminated the acute housing shortage in the 1920s. As a new building project , it set aesthetic standards. In addition, it was a social reform movement that encompassed many areas of life.

In 1925, the Lord Mayor of Frankfurt, Ludwig Landmann , appointed the architect Ernst May as urban planning officer, who from then on managed all activities and surrounded himself with a staff of young architects, technicians, artists and designers in order to anchor the project in the city in the long term. It is precisely this comprehensive design claim, which was also visible in many places in everyday urban life, that distinguishes the New Frankfurt from simultaneous projects in other locations.

Under May's direction, 12,000 apartments were built as a public-private partnership , 2000 more than planned. The apartments not only met the basic need for living - they set standards in residential and residential construction, for example with the Frankfurt kitchen . Colloquially, the settlements in Frankfurt, but not the individual buildings, are referred to as "May settlements".

Situation at the beginning of the 1920s

Child feeding in the Dominican Church in 1916, there was no municipal childcare at that time
Emergency money from 1923, as a means of payment by Hoechst  AG

At the beginning of the 1920s, Frankfurt had a high need for living space and modernization, but was at the same time severely affected by the currency crisis. The city had to take in economic refugees (for example as a result of the occupation of the Ruhr ), while it also grew through incorporation. Until the formation of Greater Berlin, Frankfurt was the largest city in Germany in terms of area. The hygienic conditions in the existing buildings were also poor for many residents: tuberculosis and rickets were common diseases. Many houses, especially in the old town , still had communal toilets in the stairwell or even in the courtyard. Only some of the apartments already had their own bathroom, often in the form of the Frankfurt bathroom . The inhabitants of the densely populated district were mostly on people shower baths instructed as in 1887 Merianbad . Narrow streets prevented sufficient light or ventilation. Rapid industrialization and the common heating with coal stoves also led to air pollution.

Ludwig Landmann was elected Lord Mayor on October 2, 1924. The election was preceded by a non-partisan agreement, which the SPD only gave its approval shortly before the vote. Landmann ambitiously pushed ahead with the project of a new Greater Frankfurt . On the one hand the new city should grow together, on the other hand it should develop into a cosmopolitan metropolis. Landmann recognized the need for cultural and creative harmonization. The society, divided into workers and bourgeoisie, should be reconciled socially. The project was supported by a grand coalition consisting of the SPD, the liberal German Democratic Party and the Catholic Center Party .

The extreme demand for living space suggested that this task should be entrusted to architects and town planners. In 1925, the liberal farmer appointed Frankfurt-born Ernst May, who at that time was working for the city's Silesian home of the city of Wroclaw , the social-democratic city treasurer Bruno Asch and the cultural department head Max Michel . The non-party Ernst May also fulfilled his role in the project as a buffer between the political positions. The named protagonists were of Jewish origin, but in fact without religious affiliation or activity. They were representatives of a modern Judaism that had opened up socially, for example through marriages to Christians or through an above-average commitment in the cultural and scientific field for a small group.

The first urban planning considerations were based on the assumption that the city center should no longer primarily serve residential purposes, but rather be a place of trade, with the large offices on Bockenheimer Landstrasse . The city should not grow outwards in an uncontrolled manner, but living space should be created in "Trabanten" with green spaces between them. Attention was also paid to a good connection to previous district centers. A strict separation of living and working, as advocated in the Athens Charter , should not, however, play a major role. In addition to the residential buildings, industry should also be located because of the short distances. The well-being of young people and children also found a place in some considerations. In fact, not only housing but almost the entire public infrastructure had to be created, which until then had either been neglected or for which there was no need.


Garden planning by Leberecht Migge for the Römerstadt settlement . Note that Migge did not follow the design guidelines of the New Frankfurt when drawing.
Central heating and bright colors. Both reconstructed according to the findings in the Ernst May House
Door handle by Ferdinand Kramer
Telephone number of model line "Frankfurt" manufactured by Fuld & Co. , probably by Richard Schade well and Marcel Breuer designed
Typed allotment garden house (gazebo) type II , in the Roman city (status 2014)

The architecture of the New Frankfurt broke with traditional methods of housing and urban development. At the same time, elements from the English garden city were to be found. The New Frankfurt estates are an important example of classical modernism and functionalism , as it was formative in architecture and design from 1920 to 1968. They have an amazing formal homogeneity.

In general, nothing was left to chance, what had to be designed and in the broadest sense fell within the competence of the planners. Ernst May and his colleagues relied on standardization and standardization of components. Some of the settlements were already prefabricated buildings , but in contrast to May's post-war buildings, they resorted to small-scale spatial structures that, despite all standardization, placed great emphasis on aesthetic details and site-specific design. For example, streets were modeled on a Roman wall. A high level of living comfort was created at comparatively low costs. In the case of doors, for example, there is no complex coffering. The Frankfurt kitchen , developed in three sizes , a prototype of the fitted kitchen , was built into every apartment and made optimal use of the planned space. Other components, including furnishings, were also cataloged in the Frankfurt register . Ernst May also arranged for the unemployed to be employed in companies founded for this purpose, from which, for example, the concrete slabs, but also furniture and furnishings were manufactured.

1927–1928 Hans Leistikow designed the “Siedlungstapeten” for the Marburg wallpaper factory on behalf of Mays. The Bauhaus followed this example in 1929 and brought its “Bauhaus wallpapers” onto the market.

From the settlements, it should be possible to experience nature and the built-up area should be related to the natural environment. Max Bromme achieved an expansion of the urban green spaces from 200 to 450  hectares . The green spaces between the settlements were created for the first time and called the green belt. They formed the basis of today's Frankfurt green belt . In times of crisis, kitchen gardens should offer families a certain degree of independence in terms of food supplies. One of the garden architects was Leberecht Migge , like May a friend of the English garden city model . May commissioned Walter Gropius and Adolf Meyer to work out aesthetic guidelines for the cemetery order that correspond to a spirit of “simplicity and truth”. The sculptors Richard Scheibe and Josef Hartwig designed exemplary gravestones from regional material. This typification was not unusual at the time. Pablo Picasso, for example, refused to put a tombstone for a friend in a French cemetery, which he called the "Monuments Fair". Even allotment garden colonies were seen as part of the cityscape: the allotment gardeners were prescribed typified huts, which were designed by the city's architects and industrially manufactured at low cost.

At the latest when Ernst May worked with Fritz Wichert , there was also a connection between the project and the Städelschule . Students received orders from the city through the project. Christian Dell , head of the metal workshop at the Städel / School of Applied Arts, designed lights for the Frankfurt Register. This success led to follow-up orders from competing companies for the designer.


A lot of building land was required for the project. Many Frankfurt families owned a piece of land on the outskirts that was once used for self-sufficiency, so that there were still many landowners in the 20th century. The city owned 43.2 percent of its area, but 22 percent belonged to the city ​​forest . Suitable land was offered on the open market for 5 to 15  Reichsmarks per square meter. However, these prices prevented building activity with social goals. With reference to the Prussian law on the reallocation of land in Frankfurt am Main , the city expropriated landowners and compensated them with an average of 3.50 Reichsmarks per square meter.

The view was that for the comfort of the new buildings, higher rents would be accepted than for existing buildings and that there was a market for new buildings. Half of the municipal contribution of 50 percent of the costs for the residential buildings was financed with house interest tax and 30 percent with loans, the remainder consisted of own funds.

Participants were the joint stock construction company for small apartments , which the city had acquired 90 percent of the time with inflation money , Mietheim AG and Hellerhof AG as the only almost entirely private company owned by Philipp Holzmann . The equity of the housing associations was only 20 percent. They took out loans at home and abroad for financing and issued bonds . In view of the overindebted public coffers during the Weimar Republic , the large investments made by Landmann were not noticed. On the contrary, the city was able to borrow from abroad thanks to good financial management. The economist and city treasurer Bruno Asch, who came from a family of merchants, was responsible for financing and raising capital.

The Frankfurt Standard and the Frankfurt Register

A program was developed as a Frankfurt standard that standardized components such as windows and concrete elements as well as creatively matching everyday objects such as door handles, furniture and crockery for apartments. The typing department was set up for this purpose . Private individuals received discounts and help when they obtained such components for their construction project. The unemployment center of the city of Frankfurt produced furniture that was sold through the municipal household utilities GmbH . This was dissolved on January 14, 1930. After moving to Frankfurt in 1927, the furniture was designed by the architect Franz Schuster . In 1925 the architect and designer Ferdinand Kramer won the Hausrat GmbH competition. This furniture was often produced, also in cooperation with the School of Applied Arts, as the Städelschule was called at the time.

"No matter how organically a floor plan is structured, no matter how useful the dimensions are, the aesthetic proportions of the rooms may be so happy, at the moment when the usual inferior household items find their way into the harmony"

- Ernst May

The consumer goods of the Frankfurt Norm were published as a glossy supplement with the name Frankfurter Register in the magazine Das neue Frankfurt, monthly for the problem of modern design with a consecutive number. In 1928, the Zentralblatt der Bauverwaltung in Berlin described the Frankfurt register as “a kind of premium advertising”.

Except for the lights by the design-oriented Danish company Louis Poulsen from Copenhagen, which Paul Henningsen designed, all products were developed by the architects and designers of the new Frankfurt. The clocks were produced by Junghans , the chairs by Thonet and household items by WMF . It is noticeable that, in addition to the large providers, many Frankfurt companies and even small workshops were involved.

The dialing set of the model line "Frankfurt", type 7800, became a popular telephone, the set was produced by the Frankfurt company H. Fuld & Co Telephon und Telegraphenwerke AG . This device was presented in the issue of “Das neue Frankfurt”, No. 4 of 1929, Frankfurt Register No. 6. Another prominent item was the door handle designed by Ferdinand Kramer . It is now being offered again as a reproduction by various suppliers, but only by the Tecnoline company with the permission of the Kramers family.

Ernst May and the locksmith August Schanz jointly developed the steel frame , a frame made of folded sheet steel attached to the masonry and into which a door leaf was hung. This invention later became a worldwide standard.

For the allotment gardens, the gardening department developed the “Frankfurt Standard for Allotment Garden Buildings”. After that, a gazebo should have a floor area of ​​4 m² and be made of wood. Model gardens with arbors were set up in the Roman city, the design was carried out by Margarethe Schütte-Lihotzky.

Visual appearance and graphic design

The new coat of arms of Frankfurt as part of the visual appearance
Private neon advertising designed according to the Frankfurt Advertising Code, 1928

In addition to architecture and product design, graphic design was also assigned an important role. In the 1920s, the German Association of Cities recommended a harmonization of office technology within administrations, which should also include graphics. Frankfurt was the first city to start implementing it in 1925, followed by Berlin in 1927 and Hanover in 1929. The corporate colors were red and white, and the contrasting color black. In addition to the official documents, Hans Leistikow also designed a new city coat of arms.

With terraces, raised edge development and similar stylistic devices, the settlements achieved structural isolation from the outside. The streets are long and seem busy with just a few pedestrians. Slight offsets and jumps in streets and buildings provide variety. Elaborate buildings that differ in shape in dominant locations are an antithesis to the serial construction method. In these houses there are mostly community facilities such as shops, libraries and above them special apartments such as a two-story penthouse for a composer.

The cityscape was also harmonized: Walter Dexel and Robert Michel designed urban neon signs, shop lettering, posters, gable advertising and stops for trams . Adolf Mayer also worked out advertising regulations for retailers, which came into force on April 13 and were strictly monitored.

Under the National Socialists , the new Frankfurt coat of arms was abolished and the activities of the visual appearance were transferred to the traffic office. After 1945 these steps were not reversed. Only in 1985 was a corporate design worked out again without reintroducing the coat of arms. Once a pioneer, 60 years later Frankfurt was one of the last major cities not to be active in this field.

Development of the Futura font

The font of the new Frankfurt using the example of a house number, traces of the original version of the Futura font are visible

Both Frankfurt with the Bauersche Gießerei and Offenbach am Main with the Klingspor company were important locations in the development of fonts . In 1925 the typographer Paul Renner moved to Frankfurt and took a job at the Städelschule . The school worked together with the project. In 1925, Renner submitted drafts for signage in an original version of the Futura to the city and also gave lectures. He was friends with Ferdinand Kramer, with whom he exchanged ideas about typography and who designed a typeface for his parents' hat shop that resembled the future Futura. At times it was believed that Renner had copied Kramer's handwriting. In fact, Renner had worked on the Futura many years before.

The name of the font was a suggestion by Fritz Wichert . For marketing, the Bauersche foundry deviated from the strict geometry and optical illusions were also taken into account. Different forms from the original Futura can still be found in house numbers and on the headings of publications. The Futura has been the corporate font of the city of Frankfurt since 1988.

Das Neue Frankfurt magazine

Das Neue Frankfurt appeared for seven years from 1926 to 1933 . Monthly for the questions of big city design . The editor was initially Ernst May himself. Hans Leistikow was responsible for the layout together with his sister Grete. From the October issue of 1930, the magazine was designed by Willi Baumeister . Regular authors were Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer . Fritz Wichert, the director of the arts and crafts school, joined later as co-editor. Now the program has been expanded to include music (for example to accompany the Frankfurt Summer of Music by Otto Ernst Sutter ), theater and radio. The magazine became a model for other publications such as Das neue Berlin , Das neue München and Die Lively Stadt Mannheim .

In April 1932, the magazine was renamed the new city due to its worldwide distribution . At the same time, the topic became more international, with contributions from New York, Bern and Scandinavia. For political reasons, the magazine had to be discontinued in March 1933. The publisher Richard Weissbach brought out a single issue of the seventh year under the editorship of Joseph Gantner in June 1933 in Zurich.

Books (selection)

A number of books were published in cooperation between the magistrate, the building construction department and the economic department, these official publications were mostly edited by Werner Nosbisch, some were published by Englert and Schlösser .

  • The flat roof , 1927.
  • The stadium in Frankfurt am Main in words and pictures , 1928.
  • The new Grossmarkthalle in Frankfurt am Main: at the opening on October 25, 1928
  • The foundation of the University of Frankfurt , 1929.
  • School buildings in Frankfurt in 1929.
  • The housing sector in the city of Frankfurt am Main. 1930.
  • The living wage apartment , 1930.
  • Five years of residential construction in Frankfurt am Main . Reprint of the magazine das neue frankfurt

In addition, the publisher Englert und Schlösser also published books on individual aspects of the project on its own initiative, for example a furniture book about the furniture by Franz Schuster.

Film, music and art

The Bund Das Neue Frankfurt was founded in cooperation with the Building Department, which was responsible for the New Frankfurt . The aim of this was to involve scientists and artists in the project and to organize exhibitions with them, for example.

Within this group, Ella Bergmann-Michel founded the working group for independent film . Between 1931 and 1933 she made five documentary films, including about the Reichstag election campaign . They are considered a "rare example of socially committed and at the same time artistic film work". Ernst May had previously made documentaries himself, the last one being How do people live .

The Bund Das Neue Frankfurt was renamed the October Group by Adolf Meyer in 1928 , and Joseph Gantner, who was also involved in the magazine, published a series of books. The October group also joined avant-garde architects who did not participate in the design of the New Frankfurt.

In the beginning, the New Frankfurt should also have a special attitude towards music. It was never worked out, but in 1927 the city organized the Summer of Music with the international exhibition Music in the Lives of Peoples . The Südwestdeutsche Rundfunkdienst (Radio Frankfurt) began broadcasting in 1924.

The settlements were painted by Hermann Treuner , see also Treuner's old town model .

For the Friedrich-Ebert-Schule , Max Beckmann made a painting on May's initiative as part of the school's educational and political program , which was later removed by the National Socialist rulers.

Architects and designers of the New Frankfurt

wholesale market hall built in 1928
The new community house of the Palmengarten, built in 1929
The dorm for working women

A total of over 60 architects and an unknown number of engineers, designers and artists were employed for the New Frankfurt. Among them were well-known personalities such as:

The most important structural realizations

Hellerhof settlement planning status 1931
Name of the settlement district construction time Residential units surface
Bruchfeldstrasse settlement (also known as "Zickzackhausen" ) Niederrad 1926-1927 643 4.9 ha
Praunheim settlement Praunheim 1926-1929 1500 29.9 ha
Bornheimer Hang settlement Bornheim 1926-1930 1234 15.4 ha
Roman city settlement Heddernheim 1927-1929 1220 28.0 ha
Home settlement Sachsenhausen 1927-1934 1072 10.4 ha
Westhausen settlement Praunheim 1929-1931 1116 20.1 ha
Hellerhofsiedlung Gallus 1929-1932 1200 15.6 ha
total 7985 124.3 ha

The new Frankfurt project primarily connects the settlements. In addition, many public and individual buildings were also realized, such as the wholesale market hall , the customs office and the Palmengarten building, as well as schools, cemeteries, park pavilions and garages.

End of the project

In May 1928 local elections were held in Frankfurt. The DVP and the NSDAP railed against the "Landmann System", also with reference to his and May's Jewish origins. Only the incorporation of Höchst am Main with a predominantly Catholic population was able to prevent established parties and positions from falling. All major cities, including Frankfurt, were subjected to a rigid austerity policy by Reich Chancellor Hermann Müller in 1929, which significantly restricted the financial scope. Successes in economic policy, such as the establishment of the headquarters of the administration of the IG Farben Group in the city, were accompanied by negative developments at the same time, such as the collapse of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Versicherung . The completed settlements , for example, mitigated the symptoms of the global economic crisis with their self-sufficient gardens or the pre-planned possibility of subletting for the citizens .

The second CIAM Congress (Congrès internationaux de l'architecture modern) took place from October 24 to 26, 1929, under the chairmanship of Ernst May . Despite a falling out between May, Giedeon and Gropius, the congress was considered a success. The motto of the event was “The apartment for the subsistence level”. The participants could not agree on how far this "customer orientation" should be understood. An exhibition was then organized in European cities. Critics blamed the New Frankfurt for the general low level of construction activity and rejected its European interpretation: "There is hardly any construction in Frankfurt [...] and the New Frankfurt travels through Europe as a traveling exhibition." May withdrew from the project in 1930 and left the project Management of those employees who wanted to stay in Frankfurt. Bruno Asch then also left Frankfurt and took a job in Berlin. The market economy orientation of the “New Frankfurt” project had previously brought him criticism from within his party. One of the last completed projects was the “Am Lindenbaum” estate by Walter Gropius .

In 1932, a research center for housing was created at the social science faculty of the University of Frankfurt , which was headed by Ernst Kahn . Kahn also suggested the establishment of the association for unemployed kitchens . In 1933 he had to stop his work and emigrate.

Ultraconservative rights and the National Socialists tried to get the name "System Landmann, Asch, May" through for the project and called for protests. They described the work of the protagonists as un-German . Although Joseph Goebbels liked the architecture of the New Building, he recognized that an attack on modernity and a link to Judaism and communism brought sympathy among the electorate. He described May as the "Lenin of German architecture". When the National Socialists came to power, all activities of the New Frankfurt came to a standstill. The popular magazine was also discontinued. Ella Bergmann-Michel was arrested for working on the film "Wahlkampf 1932" about the National Socialists' election propaganda in the Reichstag election campaign of 1932/33 and was banned from working in 1933. This also ended the film activities of the New Frankfurt.

Allegedly the National Socialists intended to redesign the buildings and provide them with gable roofs. In fact, they presented the settlements to foreign visitors and offered guided tours claiming that they were National Socialist buildings that they had built.

Image transfer

Unlike the Bauhaus, for example, the term is not protected, so projects and publications use the term again and again. Unlike the “New Frankfurt” project, however, it is not about urban construction.

Care since 1945

Shops with original steel ribbon windows at Ernst-May-Platz 2003. These have since been renovated and replaced with windows made of aluminum profiles

After 1945 housing construction was resumed as part of the reconstruction. The buildings of the New Frankfurt remained an example recognized worldwide, but were considered in Germany in the age of the construction of large sleeping cities, such as B. Neuperlach in Munich or the Märkisches Viertel in Berlin, as outdated. Bathrooms were now windowless and even the Frankfurt kitchen, which was criticized as being small, was still outperformed by the new kitchens. The original planning of the New Frankfurt was no longer taken up, the gaps were closed by another development. The holistic approach also no longer played a role. Ernst May, who in the meantime was a sought-after urban planner in the whole of Germany, appeared in Frankfurt when planning the Frankfurt Northwest City.

With the support of Mayor Rudi Arndt , Mart Stam's buildings on the Hellerhofsiedlung were to be demolished in 1976. This led to international protest, as a “compromise” only a part was then demolished.

Most of the buildings are now owned by ABG Frankfurt Holding . Despite being a listed building, most of the buildings have been renovated several times. Efforts are made to preserve the overall appearance, but hardly any structural details. Plastic windows are now installed almost everywhere. The buildings had a good insulation standard at the time of construction. In 2007 there were considerations to improve the insulation of some buildings. One approach was to attach sandwich panels, consisting of three centimeter thick vacuum insulation panels (VIP) and one centimeter thick polystyrene insulation on both sides as a plaster base panel. In the 1980s, the term “New Frankfurt” was used again for publications and to advertise an urban renewal.

The greatest danger at present is less the demolition of buildings than the loss of important structural details or their replacement by other components. For example, pergolas that are of no use to the landlord are removed, and filigree steel and wooden doors are replaced by cheap and easy-care, but clunky plastic ones.

Feedback and reception

In addition to the Bauhaus , the New Frankfurt can be seen as one of the most influential movements in design in the 20th century. Unlike the Bauhaus, there was no school behind the New Frankfurt, but practical tasks. The scope and design consistency of the New Frankfurt was unique. As a result, the worldwide response was enormous and was by no means limited to a specialist audience. For example, an interview with Ludwig Landmann was printed on the cover of the Belgian cultural magazine 7Arts . Martin Wagner in Berlin admired the buildings of the New Frankfurt and stylistically orientated himself on the Frankfurt pioneering achievement.

The "New Frankfurt" also became known through numerous private picture postcards, some motifs with the modern buildings achieved great popularity comparable to the main sights.

Comparison with the Bauhaus

In aesthetic terms, the New Frankfurt and the Bauhaus took similar positions, for example in the formal reduction to elementary geometry, the use of “honest materials” and standardization. The holistic idea, comparable to the total work of art, and the social reform approaches had their origin in Art Nouveau .

The Bauhaus was a school, while the New Frankfurt mostly selected people who were already practically active and ideally had shown reform approaches in their work. Ferdinand Kramer, who had turned his back on the Bauhaus, scoffed at the fact that “only designs for muddy houses” would be created on the tables there; he took over the typing department at the New Frankfurt.

In view of the reputation of the Bauhaus, the New Frankfurt is sometimes portrayed as being inspired by the Bauhaus; in fact, it is chronologically a parallel development.

Acceptance by the residents

Furniture from the series "Construction Furniture", designed by Franz Schuster. Copy ordered by a Frankfurt family

The settlements had made housing in Frankfurt affordable, but not necessarily for workers because of high rents to cover construction costs . The design reduction and simplification, also to reduce costs, contrasted with high-quality materials. Although these are in fact large estates with thousands of apartments, they are considered to be coveted living space until apartments are “inherited” from tenants to descendants.

Moving into an apartment was tied to numerous conditions: in order to be able to get an apartment in the New Frankfurt, applicants had to leave another apartment that could be moved into and had been looking for an apartment in Frankfurt and the surrounding area for at least a year. Furthermore, family needs and a health certificate were requested from the future residents. As a result of these conditions, especially in the early days, only the upper middle class could afford the apartments. Only later did workers join them. The move-out rate was comparatively high at the beginning due to the high rental prices. Great importance was attached to maintaining cleanliness and order in public spaces. The residents of the settlements formed interest groups that, for example, challenged rent increases, but also organized parties. All initiatives were banned under the National Socialists. They left strategically located apartments to party members. The architectural approach, for example to combat retreat into the private sphere through visual contact, turned out to be fatal in this situation.

It is often reported that the modern architecture seemed strange to the residents. In fact, there were many residents who also left upper-class quarters to move into one of the modern houses or apartments. There was hot water, a modern kitchen, self-catering gardens and light-flooded rooms. Many people still make use of the furnishing suggestions, such as the system furniture designed by Franz Schuster from the Frankfurt Register. There were participation problems above all in the lower social classes. For example, parts of Frankfurt kitchens were dismantled when they were first moved into and replaced by buffet cabinets that were seen as “more representative”. The door to the living room, intended as a short walk and supervision of the mother over the children in the living room, was bricked up as a storage area for furniture. Built-in beds that could be folded up, for example to provide more space for children to play, were exchanged for large beds, which provided the housekeeper during the day with a presentation area for embroidery, handmade pillows, etc.

Museum processing

The Frankfurt kitchen in the Museum of Modern Art in New York

From the 1970s on, interest in art history in the settlements increased. A museum review was often limited to solo exhibitions. The inclusion of the Frankfurt kitchen in collections of design museums such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York or the Victoria and Albert Museum in London strengthened its worldwide recognition. But other parts such as lights or doorknobs were included in collections or reproduced.

In Frankfurt, the university building program of the Goethe University was started by Ferdinand Kramer under the exhibition title “The Last Chapter of the New Frankfurt”.

Ernst May Society

Garden side of the Ernst May House

In 2003 the "Ernst May Society" was founded to "promote architecture, art and culture, monument protection and the promotion of science and research" . Starting in 2006, the company set up the row house Im Burgfeld 136 in the Römerstadt estate in Frankfurt-Heddernheim as a model house for the New Frankfurt and restored it to its original state. The model house has been used for lectures and events since it was completed. An archive was also created.


The Hessian historian Frank-Lothar Kroll, for example, wrote in 2011 that “the typically prefabricated Frankfurt suburban settlements in Niederrad, Sachsenhausen and Bornheim spread standardized desolation and monotony” .

The 450-page “Frankfurt Chronik” from 1968 from Waldemar-Kramer-Verlag devotes only about 50 words to the project and Ernst May in tabular style.

Attempt of World Heritage Status

Due to the worldwide interest in the buildings of the New Frankfurt, attempts were made to elevate them to the status of a World Heritage Site. Since the UNESCO is striving for summaries of world heritage sites, and in order to avoid the time-consuming bureaucratic effort, it was suggested to connect the settlements with the settlements of Berlin Modernism that were built shortly afterwards . The city of Berlin refused to approve this in spring 2013.

The city was recommended to team up with metropolises like Amsterdam and Vienna . The fact that the number of new proposals in Germany was limited to two per federal state and that Hessen submitted three proposals in 2013 makes a new start unlikely at the moment.

See also


  • Jan Abt, Alexander Ruhe: The New Frankfurt: Social Housing in Frankfurt am Main and its architect Ernst May. Grünberg, Weimar / Rostock 2008, ISBN 978-3-933713-22-3 .
  • Helen Barr, Ulrike May, Rahel Welsen: The New Frankfurt. B3 Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2007, ISBN 978-3-938783-19-1 .
  • Evelyn Brockhoff (Ed.): Actors of the New Frankfurt. Biographies from architecture, politics and culture. Societäts-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2016, ISBN 978-3-95542-160-1 .
  • Susan R. Henderson: Building Culture: Ernst May and the New Frankfurt am Main Initiative, 1926–1931. Peter Lang, New York 2013. ISBN 978-1-4331-0587-6 .
  • Eckhard Herrel, Julius Reinsberg, Christos Vittoratos: Modernism on 10 × 15 cm - The postcards of the New Frankfurt. maybuch, Frankfurt 2013.
  • Klaus Klemp, Annika Sellmann, Matthias Wagner K , Grit Weber: Modernism on the Main 1919–1933 . avedition, Stuttgart 2019, ISBN 978-3-89986-303-1 (catalog for the exhibition of the same name at the Museum Angewandte Kunst Frankfurt am Main).
  • Heinrich Klotz (Ed.): Ernst May and the New Frankfurt 1925–1930. Exhibition catalog. Ernst and Son, Berlin 1986.
  • Gerd Kuhn: Living culture and communal housing policy in Frankfurt am Main. 1880 to 1930. (Dissertation TU Berlin). Bonn 1998.
  • Ronald Kunze: Tenant participation in social housing. Establishment and development of tenant representatives in the settlements of the non-profit housing companies. Kassel 1992, ISBN 3-89117-071-8 .
  • Matthias Matzak: the new frankfurt - photographic collection by matthias matzak. Wasmuth-Verlag, Tübingen 2014, ISBN 978-3-8030-0779-7 .
  • May settlements. Exhibition catalog. Dreysse, DW. Verlag der Buchhandlung Walter König, Cologne 1986. (extended edition 1994)
  • Neues Bauen Neues Gestalten - Das Neue Frankfurt / die neue Stadt, A magazine between 1926 and 1933. Selected. and introduced by Heinz Hirdina, Dresden / Berlin 1984.
  • Walter Prigge, Hans-Peter Schwarz (ed.): The new Frankfurt. Urban development and architecture in the modernization process 1925–1988 , Frankfurt 1988, ISBN 3-89354-037-7
  • Eduard Jobst Siedler: Building Research. Final report on the experimental settlements in Frankfurt am Main-Praunheim and Westhausen. Bechhold, Frankfurt am Main 1933.
  • The settlement. Monthly for the non-profit settlement and housing industry (1929–1939). Bulletin of the building cooperatives and building companies of Greater Frankfurt. (Reprint. Ronald Kunze (Ed.). Institute for Housing Policy and Urban Ecology e.V., Hanover 1986)
  • Christian Welzbacher: The New Frankfurt. Planning and building for the modern metropolis. Photos by Andreas Muhs. Deutscher Kunstverlag, Berlin / Munich 2016, ISBN 978-3-422-02426-7 .

Web links

Commons : New Frankfurt  album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. From the imperial eagle to the "plucked sparrow". (No longer available online.), archived from the original on August 7, 2016 ; Retrieved May 10, 2013 .
  2. Sebastian Semraun: Renewal will not start until May. (No longer available online.) Frankfurter Neue Presse , April 4, 2013, formerly in the original ; Retrieved May 10, 2013 .  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  3. Jan Abt, Alexander Ruhe: Das Neue Frankfurt: Social Housing in Frankfurt am Main and its architect Ernst May. 2008, p. 46.
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This article was added to the list of articles worth reading on May 15, 2013 in this version .