Commerzbank Tower is a skyscraper located in the city centre of Frankfurt, Germany. After it was completed in 1997 it ranked as the tallest building in Europe until 2005 when it was surpassed by the Triumph-Palace in Moscow. The tower is only two metres taller than the MesseTurm which is also located in Frankfurt. The MesseTurm was the tallest building in Europe before the construction of the Commerzbank Tower.
With a height of 259 metres (850 ft), 56 stories, it provides 121,000 m² (1.3 million square feet) of office space for the Commerzbank headquarters, including winter gardens and natural lighting and air circulation. The signal light on top of the tower gives the tower a total height of 300.1 metres (985 ft).
In its immediate neighbourhood are other high-rise buildings including the Eurotower (home of the European Central Bank), the Maintower, the Silver Tower, the Japan Center and the Gallileo skyscraper. The area is commonly known as Bankenviertel (banking district or financial district).
It was designed by Foster & Partners, with Arup and Krebs & Kiefer (structural engineering), J. Roger Preston with P&A Petterson Ahrens (mechanical engineering), Schad & Hölzel (electrical engineering). Construction of the building began in 1994 and took three years to complete.
The building is illuminated at night by a yellow light scheme which was designed by Thomas Ende who was allowed to display this sequence as a result of a competition.
When the building was planned in the early 1990s Frankfurt's Green Party, who governed the city together with the Social Democratic Party, encouraged the Commerzbank to design a 'green' skyscraper. The result was the world's first so-called ecological skyscraper: besides the use of 'sky-gardens' environmental- friendly technologies were employed to reduce energy required for heating and cooling.
The Commerzbank Tower is shaped as a 60 metres (197 ft) wide rounded equilateral triangle with a central, triangular atrium. At nine different levels, the atrium opens up to one of the three sides, forming large sky gardens. These open areas allow more natural light in the building, reducing the need for artificial lighting. At the same time it ensures offices in the building's two other sides have a view of either the city or the garden.
In order to eliminate the need of supporting columns in the sky gardens, the building was constructed in steel instead of the conventional (and cheaper) concrete. It was the first skyscraper in Germany where steel was used as the main construction material.