Frankfurt am Main

These two monolithic balcony installations, constructed out of prefabricated concrete columns and platforms, perfectly complement the scale and massing of the late nineteenth century apartment block that they abut. Both towers are freestanding as an historic preservation order protects the building’s external fabric.

The concrete’s etched finish - which is the result of extensive testing with several 1:1 samples, incorporating various aggregates and pigments - references the use of red sandstone in the door and window trims. The objective here was not to copy the building's painted treatment of the material, but rather to articulate the sandstone's core qualities - its colour, composition and texture - within a concrete template. And as an elegant counterpoint to the scheme’s solidity, self-supporting stainless steel railings neatly enclose each floor plate.

The spindles in each railing section sit within precisely aligned 50mm deep countersunk stainless steel bushings. These were collectively configured as a single unit within the pre-cast concrete mould in order to eliminate any movement.

The final component in the railing detail is a circular steel plate surround for each of the spindles - these slot into the bushings and sit flush with the floor.

Internally, the platforms are calibrated with a 2% fall to allow for drainage. 3cm thick sandstone slabs, positioned on footings, provide a safe and durable surface. Throughout the scheme, the modular nature of the building components is subtly disseminated by a 10mm shadow gap detail.

In essence, the project’s tectonic composition represents a seamless integration of making and thought, culminating in two contextually measured structures that are well-honed, well-grounded and well-proportioned.

Prefabricated bespoke concrete and stainless steel railings
Frankfurt am Main, 2013