On Friday, June 17, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management celebrated the topping-out ceremony at the business school’s new campus in Adickesallee.
The ceremony – during which the topping-out wreath was raised above the building – was attended by several hundred prominent speakers and other guests from the worlds of business, politics, government and metropolitan society. Others present at the topping-out ceremony included numerous members of the business school’s Advisory Board and Board of Trustees, graduates from various degree courses and programmes, academic staff, FS Friends and sponsors, long-term supporters and Frankfurt School employees. The day came to a very pleasant end with a barbecue attended by many alumni from the business school’s earliest years, as well as current students and former employees.
Rainer Neske, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management Foundation, gave the opening address. He reviewed the various stages in the construction project, picking out various high points – the complex demand forecasts, the extensive search for suitable sites, the international architectural competition. In particular, he thanked all those who have been involved in the construction work, each and every day, in any and all weathers. The fact that the project is on schedule and that there have been no accidents during the building work to date is entirely due to the professionalism of the teams working on the construction site. The whole of Frankfurt School, emphasised Neske, is deeply grateful to them for their efforts.
Boris Rhein, Hessian Minister of the Sciences and Arts, then took the podium. He highlighted Frankfurt School’s extraordinary development. Today, he reminded his audience, Frankfurt School has become a business school with a strong research focus and exceptional international appeal; the institution is an enormous asset to the State of Hesse’s academic community. Frankfurt School’s new, modern and exceedingly attractive campus in Adickesallee reflects its significance and confident self-image. Furthermore, he regarded the new campus as an architectural benchmark for the city of Frankfurt and the region as a whole.
Copenhagen-based architectural firm Henning Larsen won the Frankfurt School architectural competition, and Werner Frosch, partner and General Manager at Hennig Larsen, also addressed the guests at the topping-out ceremony. He outlined the idea behind the “Zeil of Knowledge” (named after Frankfurt’s busiest shopping street), now generally referred to as the Mall. This central space on the building’s ground floor ties together all the most important campus facilities, such as the Audimax, refectory, Learning Centre, café and lecture theatres, and on the western side, access to the student hostels. Werner Frosch highlighted the role of the Zeil of Knowledge as a teaching, learning and research hub, as well as a gathering place for personal meetings and conversations. The Zeil is versatile enough to be used in all sorts of other ways, said the architect – “you can even dance here!” Finally, he expressed his delight that the topping-out ceremony was taking place in the Zeil of Knowledge, filling the new campus with life even before the building is officially occupied.
MOW is the Frankfurt-based firm in charge of managing and planning the new campus project, and Thilo Mack, one of the firm’s partners, took the podium after Werner Frosch. He reminded his audience that this is the second time that Frankfurt School has engaged MOW’s services for a major construction project; the first such project was the business school’s current campus in Sonnemannstrasse. MOW is proud of the relationship of trust that has evolved in the course of these two building projects.
Carpenter Stefan Dietz delivered the traditional topping-out speech and led guests in giving three cheers for all those involved in the construction work, as well as everybody present at the ceremony. Then Frankfurt School’s President, Professor Dr Udo Steffens, took the podium once again. He thanked Stefan Dietz and the other speakers for their good wishes and committed support for the new campus and Frankfurt School.
He then summarised the history of the new site. After the War, there was initially talk of choosing Frankfurt am Main rather than Bonn as Germany’s new capital. In fact, plans were well advanced; locations were pinpointed for the various federal government agencies. Thus the buildings now occupied by Hessischer Rundfunk were originally intended for the Federal Parliament, while Frankfurt School’s new site was expected to become the federal Ministry of Finance. According to Professor Steffens, everybody at Frankfurt School is aware of the prominence of this particular piece of real estate. Personally, he is delighted that Frankfurt School has found a new home in such a significant central location. Finally, he invited guests to come outside with him and watch as the crane hoisted the topping-out wreath above the building.
Visitors were offered two very different ways to explore the new campus. The real-world campus tour opened with a swift journey to the eighth floor by the external elevator, offering a breathtaking view of the Frankfurt skyline. Receiving the guests, a team from MOW explained a number of the new building’s details, for example the energy supply and the use of space. But just as exciting was the Virtual Reality (VR) show – interested guests did not even have to leave the entrance hall. Using state-of-the-art technology and special headsets, they were able to view the new Frankfurt School campus in all its completed glory – as a virtual construct. Various displays in the hall showed non-participating guests which images of and routes through the new campus were being projected into the virtual reality experience.
Give & Win
Frankfurt School also organised a fundraising raffle to celebrate the topping-out ceremony. To take part in the prize draw, sponsors made donations of at least 100 euros each. The ultimate goal was an exclusive invitation to a roof-top get-together on July 14, when Frankfurt School President Professor Dr Udo Steffens will welcome 20 winners of the Give & Win raffle to an evening drinks party in his new office on the new building’s eighth floor. To find out more about the Give & Win raffle, click here.
The topping-out ceremony ended in an evening barbecue attended by several hundred guests, including graduates, students, academic staff, employees and their families. They all came to enjoy the festivities and explore the new campus, taking advantage of the campus tour and virtual reality show to immerse themselves in every detail of the new structure. The barbecue was also a great opportunity to meet and greet friends and acquaintances old and new.