Prof. Sir Peter Cook

Till and Michael - they're quality guys

There seem to be three directions evident in the recent work of schneider+schumacher and it is useful for the critic to be able to compare at least two or more examples of each of these direc- tions. Generationally, and by taste and enthusiasm, both Till Schneider and Michael Schumacher have emerged from a period when the best North European architecture seemed to be ‘High Tech’ – and we must remember that Michael spent several months in the office of Norman Foster. Thus they have been both creative and comfortable with the manipulation of glass, joints, edges, technical approaches to energy conservation and the potential of the crane and the digging machine. Their sheer intelligence has ensured that this has not just been a latent comfort but has been put to creative use in making their buildings efficient, energy conscious and quite often ingenious. As a background, I am not sure that Frankfurt can offer the local idea-competitiveness of such cities as London, Stuttgart, Los Angeles, New York or Tokyo – it remains a commercial play- ground with disturbing reactionary undertones – hosting, but not parrying the inventiveness of outside firms who land a job in Hessen. Therefore the boys have often been out there alone, taking chances.