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Culture

The house that divided Europe

The new headquarters of the European Central Bank has been the focus of protests in Frankfurt am Main. Architect Wolf D. Prix could never have suspected that riots would overshadow the grand inauguration.

The cool, elegant façade of the European Central Bank (ECB) building could not shroud the serious violence taking place just outside its front doors on the streets of Frankfurt. Prior to the official opening of the skyscraper, critics of capitalism and police clashed, leaving more than 220 injured, burning barricades, torched cars and several arrests. Police used water canons, tear gas and batons against the rioters.

The "Blockupy" protests ended peacefully however, with 17,000 people demonstrating against the policies of the ECB. The building was always going to be political and a symbol of power - something the Austrian architect Wolf D. Prix recognized when drafting the design. As such, he sought to create a building which would feel relevant both to the people and to the city.

ld/das/jgt (dpa, epd)

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