Stuttgart: Tagblatt-Turm

Tagblatt Turm, 1924-1928. Architekt: Ernst Otto Oßwald
Tagblatt Turm, 1924-1928. Architekt: Ernst Otto Oßwald

Tagblatt-Turm, 1924–1928. Architect: Ernst Otto Oßwald

Tagblatt Turm, 1924-1928. Architekt: Ernst Otto Oßwald

Tagblatt-Turm, 1924–1928. Architect: Ernst Otto Oßwald

Tagblatt Turm, 1924-1928. Architekt: Ernst Otto Oßwald

Tagblatt-Turm, 1924–1928. Architect: Ernst Otto Oßwald

1924 – 1928

Architect: Ernst Otto Oßwald

Eberhardstraße 61, Stuttgart

The 18-story, 61-meter-high reinforced concrete tower is one of the few built examples of the high-rise debate that had been going on since 1920 during the Weimar Republic.

Together with Erich Mendelsohn’s Schocken department store, which was demolished in 1960, the office tower formed an ensemble of Neues Bauen in downtown Stuttgart.

Carl Esser, the publisher of the Stuttgarter Neues Tagblatt, wanted to house both the printing plant and the editorial office of his newspaper on the site in downtown Stuttgart on Eberhardstrasse.

He commis­sioned the Stuttgart architect Ernst Otto Oßwald with the design.

The location of the Eberhardtstrasse site made it ideal for a high-rise building. In this context, Oßwald could refer to the debate on high-rise buildings for Stuttgart by the archi­tects Richard Döcker and Hugo Keuerleber in 1921.

From an urban planning point of view, the inter­section between Eberhardstrasse and Torstrasse, where the street space widened and the bending Eberhardstrasse would be given a clear end point by means of a high-rise building, was the ideal location for such a building type.

The design of the tower is based on an L‑angled ground plan, which only widens at the junction with the building at Torstrasse 29 and partially covers the courtyard.

Oßwald designed the floors of the tower with an open floor plan and flexible room layout, divided only by light glass fixtures. Only the position of the stair­wells, the elevators (one high-speed elevator and one pater­noster) and the sanitary rooms were fixed.

The first building appli­cation was submitted on March 3, 1926.

Plans called for 16 full stories with a total height of 55.80 meters.

At that time, the building regula­tions of the city of Stuttgart stipu­lated a maximum building height of 20 meters or five full stories for Torstrasse.

Accordingly, the city council had a hard time approving the building. The decision-making process was an explo­ration of the possi­bi­lities with a view to the further develo­pment of Stuttgart’s cityscape.

Due to the incre­asing develo­pment of Stuttgart’s hillside locations and the overall higher building style in the city center, the church towers and the new train station tower stood out visually only slightly from the dense roofscape.

The impor­tance of the Tagblatt tower as a point of orien­tation for the city was empha­sized all the more.

In order to do justice to its respon­si­bility, the building department of the Stuttgart City Extension Office took an unusual route and commis­sioned the archi­tects Paul Bonatz, Hugo Keuerleber and Heinz Wetzel to hold an ideas compe­tition as an expert opinion on improving and supple­menting Osswald’s design.

A commission of experts, together with the architect Richard Döcker, came to the conclusion that none of the invited archi­tects had done justice to the task.

In order to put an end to the ongoing discus­sions about the height of the building, the Tagblatt publi­shing house was prepared in November 1926 to forego two stories in favor of speedy approval.

In the new design, the full stories ended at a height of 49.30 meters, and the recessed mezza­nines at 53.80 meters.

The City Council approved the proposal in public session by a vote of 33 to 22 after lengthy discus­sions on the pros and cons of high-rise buildings.

On February 15, 1927, approval was granted for a high-rise building in reinforced concrete with fifteen full stories and two half stories.

The proposed material for the exterior facades was a bush-hammered concrete surface made of a mixture of porphyry gravel and Rhine gravel, which was intended to give a light, warm color to the surfaces.

The window piers were proposed to be of hard-fired, light-colored brick masonry.

The estimated construction cost was about 800,000 marks.

The building ground proved to be a challenge: test borings revealed flowing ground­water containing gypsum at a depth of eight meters, as well as large quantities of mud deposits from the former town moat.

The soil condi­tions in the individual areas of the site were so different that a pile foundation had to be planned.

The piles were to stand on a load-bearing gravel layer lying at a depth of eleven meters.

The actual construction work began on April 16, 1927, and after four months the pier foundation was completed down to below a 1.50-meter-thick reinforced concrete floor slab.

In August 1927, a supple­mentary building appli­cation was submitted for the instal­lation of the light sign.

Balconies were to be added as second escape routes starting on the eighth floor.

Because of the altered founda­tions, the window pillars had to bear loads and were therefore to be made of reinforced concrete instead of masonry as previously planned.

To structure the facade, these piers were planned to be made of black-gray, polished reinforced concrete with basalt and Rhine sand as aggregates.

In November 1927, when the effect of the tower was already becoming apparent through the progress of construction, Oßwald applied for approval of an additional full floor and a higher super­st­ructure to accom­modate the elevator machinery.

The progress of the construction work was the best adver­ti­sement and so the total height of 61 meters was approved.

On March 17, 1928, the shell was completed. Simultaneously with the concreting of the upper floors, the instal­lation of the light glass partition walls, the instal­la­tions and electrical equipment already began on the lower floors.

The completion of the design was marked by the planning of the contour lighting, the so-called AEG moore lighting system, which was approved in May 1928.

It gave the tower a specta­cular nighttime effect. Thousands of neon lamps traced the course of the building’s lines and visually stretched the tower even higher.

The Tagblatt Tower was inaugu­rated on November 5, 1928.

The building was equipped to the most modern standards with hot water heating, double windows, a garbage chute, and a letter drop chute directly into the Reichspost box in the foyer.

The Tagblatt tower survived World War II relatively unscathed. Necessary repair work was carried out in the post-war period under the construction management of Ernst Otto Oßwald himself.

The newspaper remained in the rooms on Eberhardstrasse until 1976, when it moved to the new press center in Möhringen.

In 1978, the tower was listed as a histo­rical monument. A year later, the city of Stuttgart bought the Tagblatt tower and converted the rooms into the „Kultur unterm Turm“ cultural center.

Since May 2004, five cultural insti­tu­tions have been using the rooms of the former print shop and tower: the Center for Figure Theater FITZ, the tri-bühne theater, Junges Ensemble Stuttgart JES, the city’s mu*pä*di (now kubi‑S) museum education service and the JuKuS youth art school.

Tagblatt Turm, 1924-1928. Architekt: Ernst Otto Oßwald

Tagblatt-Turm, 1924–1928. Architect: Ernst Otto Oßwald

Tagblatt Turm, 1924-1928. Architekt: Ernst Otto Oßwald

Tagblatt-Turm, 1924–1928. Architect: Ernst Otto Oßwald

Tagblatt Turm, 1924-1928. Architekt: Ernst Otto Oßwald

Tagblatt-Turm, 1924–1928. Architect: Ernst Otto Oßwald

Tagblatt Turm, 1924-1928. Architekt: Ernst Otto Oßwald

Tagblatt-Turm, 1924–1928. Architect: Ernst Otto Oßwald

1 Comment

  1. rohan storey

    Germany actually has the most interwar high rise in Europe all surviving I think though not really very high – but this is one of the tallest (in number of floors anyway). I’ve collected as many as I could find on my Pinterest page. Surprisingly Italy has a lot too – I think the various cities competed ! As well as one of the tallest in Europe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *