From the beginning, viniculture and agriculture, skilled crafts and the trade with wine, salt, and wood formed the economic basis for the city of Stuttgart.
Already in the middle of the 14th century, shortly after Stuttgart was declared a city, documents refer to a trading area, a “forum mercatorium”. From 1304, regular weekly and annual markets took place. The open-air markets were always meeting points for farmers, retailers, travelling entertainers, and townspeople and moreover an important hub for goods and news.
Under the reign of Count Ulrich V and Count Ludwig I, a manor house, a large half-timbered building, was built on the market square. There were stalls on the ground floor selling fruit, bread, and meat and law courts were located on the upper floors.
As the house was demolished in 1820, King Wilhelm I endowed the so-called “Old” Market Hall as a replacement, so that “the wives and daughters of our winegrowers can offer their products for sale protected from the vagaries of the weather”.
Taking the example from “Les Halles” in Paris, the Stuttgart victuals markets were to be united under one roof. The highly modern for its time, iron construction with glass roof was opened in 1864, but it was already too small after 25 years in operation – the population grew quickly in the age of industrialisation.
The Stuttgart city council decided to build a larger hall on the same location in 1906. An architectural competition was organised which was won by Martin Elsässer the younger in 1910.
Martin Elsässer’s draft was based on the contrast of interior space and building exterior: With arcades, oriels, and turrets the façade in moderate art nouveau matched harmoniously with the still intact Stuttgart Old City, whereby the interior of the building was a very modern design at that time.
Above the exposed reinforced concrete beams, a curved glass roof spanned the 60 X 25 meter Hall, offering daylight for the presentation of goods. The open space was flanked by two three-storey aisles bordered on the ground floor by arcades. The second floor remained open with apertures so that the hall could be viewed on a round tour. The third floor, not open to the public, contained office rooms.
The Market Hall was constructed at a cost of 1.85 million Gold Mark and opened on 30th January 1914. With over 400 sales booths, it rapidly developed to a central trading location for the region.
Die Halle wird durch Kriegseinwirkungen schwer beschädigt. 1946 stellt man das Glasdach wieder her.
The Market Hall was restored to its former glory, but only on the ground floor. The first floor was integrated in the office wing.
Regarded as “economically unviable”, the Hall was to be replaced by a “multifunctional center”. With only a single vote majority, the city council decided to maintain the Hall – a wise decision!
The Stuttgart Market Hall was declared as a listed building. Today, it is a well known and loved jewel whose attraction stretches far beyond the city limits and an exquisite shopping area for the community.
Following sophisticated renovation work, the first floor was opened as a sales area. Together with a restaurant with Italian flair, shops for house and garden décor, lifestyle accessories, art and literature, jewellery and gem stones, coffee and tea, a hairdresser and a beauty salon invite shoppers on a voyage of discovery. In this way, the original character of the Market Hall was restored.
The Market Hall was extensively renovated in 2004. The roof was renovated, the façade was thoroughly cleaned and equipped with new awnings. Now, the Market Hall shines in new glory.
With the help of the development association „Old Stuttgart“, the Ceres fountain was restored to its old purpose. The beautiful ceramic fountain with the figure of Ceres, goddess of arable farming, is once more at its place where the original stood until the second world war. Clear water once more gushes free of charge for all those seeking refreshment.
The Market Hall celebrated its 95th anniversary.
The restrooms in the Café/Restaurant Market Hall were completely renovated.
The skylights in the Market Hall were renovated.
The Market Hall celebrated its centenary.