Historic Buildings Out of Hiding
The historisches museum's heritage buildings on the bank of the Main have virtually been "liberated". With most of the scaffolding gone, the newly refurbished façades are now visible in all their beauty and dignity. The Saalhof ensemble can likewise now be seen from the north, from the Römerberg and Saalgasse sides, since the concrete building has meanwhile been demolished down to the upper edge of the basement level. This is the view Frankfurt knew between the bombardment of 1944 and the construction of the concrete building in the years 1970–72.
On the basis of architectural and monument preservation considerations, a colour concept for the stone surfaces, renderings and windows was researched, developed, sampled and discussed over a period of several months. The five buildings – from the Staufer-period Saalhof to the mid-nineteenth-century Burnitz and Customs Buildings – are now visible again as "individuals": they differ with regard to their surfaces and colours, while the ensemble nevertheless remains a unified whole. Special importance was attached to the treatment of the natural stone surfaces – particularly the white-veined Main sandstone –, as well as to the buildings' various renderings and colour schemes, which were worked out on the basis of historical illustrations.
In the case of the Burnitz Building, the original colour design drawings dating from the construction period (1842) are still extant. The wooden window frames also feature different hues from one building to the next. Thanks to the various shades of grey in interplay with the stone embrasures and the different renderings, the historic buildings are now a striking sight to behold.
The interior construction measures are entering the home stretch. The ceilings will be closed over the next few weeks, the interior doors installed and the last electrical wiring laid. The drywall installation and rendering will be carried out in readiness for the wall painters and floorers, who will bring the work to a conclusion at year-end. As soon as the buildings are released to the museum for occupancy, prospectively at the end of February 2012, the installations for the new exhibitions will get underway.