The city of Frankfurt has a long tradition of pharmacy, and amongst those trained there was Henri Nestle, the pioneer of the food industry. That tradition was the basis for the growth of the chemical industry in the late nineteenth century, and by 1914 Frankfurt had the highest concentration of chemical companies in the German Empire.
One of the principal firms was founded as a dye-stuffs manufacturing concern in 1863 by Eugen Lucius and Adolf Bruning, and became a public company, Farbwerke Hoechst AG in 1880. In 1916 it was one of the founders of the pressure group IG Farben which became a chemicals conglomerate in 1925. IG Farben was split up in 1951, when Hoechst AG was re-founded. The company was merged with Rhone-Poulenc and took the name Aventis in 1999.
The outstanding memorial to the company is the administration building built in 1920-24 to the design of Peter Behrens. Offices are arranged around a large hall, and the spacious stair well is linked to the old main entrance to the site by an imposing bridge. The building is an outstanding example of the Expressionist style. It is open to visitors several times a year.