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  6. Felix Nussbaum Museum / Daniel Libeskind

Felix Nussbaum Museum / Daniel Libeskind

  • 01:00 - 16 May, 2011
Felix Nussbaum Museum / Daniel Libeskind
Felix Nussbaum Museum / Daniel Libeskind, © Bitter Bredt Fotografie
© Bitter Bredt Fotografie

© Bitter Bredt Fotografie © Bitter Bredt Fotografie © Bitter Bredt Fotografie © Bitter Bredt Fotografie +17

  • Location

    Osnabrück, Germany
  • Architects

    Daniel Libeskind
  • Architect Of Record

    Reinders & Partner
  • Structural Engineer

  • Landscape Architect

    Müller, Knippschild, Wehberg
  • Mechanical Engineer

    Jäger & Partner, Beratende Ingenieure
  • Lightning Designer

    Dinnebier Licht
  • Contractor

    Reinders and Partner
  • Area

    1890.0 sqm
  • Photographs

From the architect. The Felix Nussbaum Museum is an extension to the Cultural History Museum in Osnabrück and is dedicated to the work of Felix Nussbaum, the Jewish artist born in Osnabrück in 1904. The Museum displays Nussbaum’s graphics and paintings done prior to his extermination in Auschwitz, and houses a temporary exhibition space focusing on the themes of racism and intolerance. The building was completed in the summer of 1998, in collaboration with Reinders & Partner Lange, and has already attracted more than 4 million visitors.

The building consists of three main components: the tall and narrow central Nussbaum corridor, the long main section, and the bridge, which acts as a connection to the old museum. In its pathways with their sudden breaks, unpredictable intersections and dead ends, the building structure reflects the life of Felix Nussbaum.

© Bitter Bredt Fotografie
© Bitter Bredt Fotografie

"It is only by a fortuitous accident and the determined will of the town of Osnabrück that the name and works of Felix Nussbaum have been raised to consciousness amongst the millions of erased Jewish names and lost works. The task of building a Museum to house the artistic remnants of Nussbaum’s life raises issues which are not merely architectural but moral as well. I believe therefore, that the destruction of Jewish culture perpetuated by the Third Reich must not be dealt with solely in memorial terms. The remaining witnesses to the annihilation of European Jewry are now dying out. The paintings of Nussbaum are more than paintings - they are everliving documents which, placed in a new context of participation and a new witnessing, elevate the narration of history as art into the emblem of the very survival of the Jewish people and of European civilization. Every element of the spatial organization, geometry and programmatic content of this scheme refers to the paradigmatic destiny of Nussbaum: his prize in Rome removed by the Nazis, his time in Berlin, the consequences of his permanent exile from Osnabrück, the futility of his escape routes through France and Belgium, to his final deportation and murder in Auschwitz. And yet all this tragic destiny is placed in the context of Nussbaum’s abiding hope in ultimate justice which this proposed scheme seeks to fulfill.

© Bitter Bredt Fotografie
© Bitter Bredt Fotografie

"It is part of the mission of this design to house the Nussbaum collection in a new museum complex, as well as to transform the entire historical ensemble of buildings into yet another whole. Expressive of permanent absence, 'The Museum of the Unwitnessed and Unfulfilled' is a Museum resonant of both the fatality as well as the significance of the unrepresentable abyss of the Holocaust. The Museum has a particular task: to avoid a sentimental moment in order to thematize the existing historical context of Osnabrück through the disclosure of new cultural values.

© Bitter Bredt Fotografie
© Bitter Bredt Fotografie

"The different components of the new complex are seen as connecting and composing an integral structure, while at the same time exposing a permanent horizon of disconnection paradoxically linking significant places to the town; substantial points of history to spatial memory. The new building, therefore, does not seek to dominate as a new form, but rather retreats to form a background of hope for the existing Historical Museum and the Villa containing the folk art collection. These buildings are treated as the familiar, yet solitary every-day figures, while the entire site is reorganized around the nexus of a new topography which connects the town back onto itself. The Nussbaum Museum becomes the link to a lost history. It acts as a transformer, transmitting the mysterious irreversibility of time and destiny.

© Bitter Bredt Fotografie
© Bitter Bredt Fotografie

"The visitor enters laterally into the Nussbaum pathway, which is cut open in order to record and define the importance of entering ‘The Museum Without Exit.' The exterior of the Nussbaum pathway is absence itself - an empty canvass of Nussbaum’s martyred life - referring to the absoluteness of the crime and the importance of the public site. This empty exterior bequeaths a sense of openness and incompleteness which is necessary for the interpretation of Nussbaum’s oeuvre. Within the Nussbaum Pathway there are traces of the vitality of the former Jewish life of Osnabrück. Once the visitor is inside this compressed space illuminated by triangular skylights, he/she is confronted with a displaced volume containing the vertical entrance volume and its attendant functions.

© Bitter Bredt Fotografie
© Bitter Bredt Fotografie

"The Nussbaum Pathway makes visible the Museum complex as well as inscribing the invisible incinerated synagogue. The visitor is placed in the precarious equilibrium between the collected and the uncollectable, or the recollected and the unrecordable. The Nussbaum Pathway leads the visitor through the compressed geometry of double cone of vision, which (forward and backward in time) gives one the visual and kinetic embodiment of the Star of David - chosen by Nussbaum as his final identifying birth and death mark.

© Bitter Bredt Fotografie
© Bitter Bredt Fotografie

"The entire trajectory through the Museum makes the visitor aware of the interplay between the lost shadows of the Synagogue and the light of an anticipated future. The visitor moves towards the open space of the temporary exhibitions, glimpsing the narrow vertical horizon which opens at the completion of the route into the second story connection. The temporary exhibitions of the town, the lecture hall, and the activities of the day make a relevant introduction to the second level which contains the necessary space for the unfolding of Nussbaum’s dramatic work. The design suggests the importance of integrating the historical collections of Osnabrück, at least emblematically, into the context of the work of Nussbaum. This places the Nussbaum collection back in context with the Historical Museum’s collection.

© Bitter Bredt Fotografie
© Bitter Bredt Fotografie

"At the completion of the second floor exhibits, the visitor becomes aware of the collapsed spatiality of Nussbaum’s works, the pathos of which lies in the double recognition of the political futility of escape and the spiritual resistance of art in face of inhuman oppression. The second floor's unfinished gallery is a time-cut which signifies the oblique and wrenched segment, a suspended connection to the existing museum. This suspension indicates finality of the 1944 paintings testifying to the indomitable spirit of Nussbaum and the universality of art. The volume of this critical segment is equal and reciprocal to the geometry of the cut and disconnected Nussbaum Museum.

© Bitter Bredt Fotografie
© Bitter Bredt Fotografie

"The floating connection to the existing Museum leads to an exhibition area, which transforms part of the second floor of the city’s Historical Museum. The scheme indicates the necessity of integrating the new and the old beyond appearances; the actual connection between the Historical and Aesthetic. The integration of the existing and the new museums is the key task which must be accomplished so that the memory of the past will become active in the present and its ongoing narration.

© Bitter Bredt Fotografie
© Bitter Bredt Fotografie

"Finally, the key structural feature of the plan suggests that the Nussbaum Museum, though separated from the existing museum building, is by virtue of its form and function profoundly related to them. The Folk Art Museum, which in 1933 was the Headquarters of the Nazi party, and the Main Historical Museum are reattached and absorbed in a conscious and deliberate manner to the polyphonic composition. The whole represents an architectural hinge which prevents the entire site from banalizing, homogenizing and isolating historical facts. The visitor becomes aware that the work of Nussbaum, and particularly its relationship to the cultural, historical and physical identity of Osnabruck, requires extraordinary spiritual differentiation. Thus the import of public space, (both internal and external) and the relation between the ecosystem and the architecture is clear.

ground floor plan
ground floor plan

"The Nussbaum Museum becomes a profound place for the encounter of the future and the past, more than just a testament to an impossible fate. The unpainted paintings of Felix Nussbaum demand nothing less than to become visible to the contemplating eye."

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "Felix Nussbaum Museum / Daniel Libeskind" 16 May 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


Hooman (IRAN) · April 11, 2012

yes. its similar. but I like his architecture.

vajiheh · October 06, 2011


Wm. Scagel · September 12, 2011

I like it; very sharp and gets the point across. German, share the guilt. Who cares if it all looks alike. A long time ago some of his work was for sale in Mexico in a little place called 'Bazaar Mauro'. Too bad; should have bought then.

Trent · June 02, 2011

How can one "design firm" be responsible for nearly all of the world's worst architecture? What kind of losers fool themselves into believing that a few silly windows is good design?

aj · May 30, 2011

a joke

DeeDee · May 27, 2011

It looks like the design for a children's toy shop. Very silly and undignified structure. And a disgrace to the memory of Nussbaum. He must be turning in his grave.

Abaxus · May 27, 2011

It's hard to believe an architect was involved. It looks like a "design" produced by a Kindergarten pupil.

Cabelíssima · May 25, 2011

Felix Nussbaum Museum / Daniel Libeskind | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Edgard Georges · May 24, 2011

Felix Nussbaum Museum / Daniel Libeskind | ArchDaily:

Red Wolf · May 20, 2011

Felix Nussbaum Museum #architecture

oedja · May 20, 2011

bagus utk refrensi sekolah kmu ni syg @me_rye Felix Nussbaum Museum / Daniel Libeskind | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Tara · May 19, 2011

Felix Nussbaum Museum

JChen · May 17, 2011

this guy just forgot to take his medication and look what happened.

Soupdragon · May 17, 2011

All surface, no feeling

ARCILOOK · May 17, 2011

Felix Nussbaum Museum / Daniel Libeskind

Jacopo Monachesi · May 17, 2011

Felix Nussbaum #Museum / Daniel #Libeskind | ArchDaily via @archdaily :

munawwar merchant · May 17, 2011

"Felix Nussbaum Museum / Daniel Libeskind ~ via @archdaily" #architecture . Daniel doing his thing like he does... :D

markitecture · May 17, 2011

Another Libeskind extension. #architecture

Ale Gaddor · May 17, 2011

the new and the old Libeskind's felix Nussbaum museum,,, great the old,, dissapointing the new,, now everyone can see that he lost his mind,,, this is a holocaust for the Libeskind's old Felix Nussbaum museum.

M. v. Aufschnaiter · May 17, 2011

RT @EricaRiva: Felix Nussbaum Museum / Daniel Libeskind _ #architecture #photography

André Amaral · May 17, 2011

Felix Nussbaum Museum / Daniel Libeskind | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Erica Riva · May 17, 2011

Felix Nussbaum Museum / Daniel Libeskind _ #architecture #photography

ecnal · May 17, 2011

I like it. Vibrant spaces. Is it similar to his other buildings? Yes. Is that a negative? No. Perhaps if Libeskind were commissioned to design a whole street, the forms would get tiring- but in isolation as they are here- the building creates an interesting relationship with it's context and enriches the whole area. Architects are not mandated to develop a new language with every building.

Pedro Leitão · May 17, 2011

Seriously, you see a building by Libeskind, you've seen them all.

Ariel Calderon · May 16, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: Felix Nussbaum Museum / Daniel Libeskind #architecture

??? · May 16, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: Felix Nussbaum Museum / Daniel Libeskind #architecture

designrelated · May 16, 2011

linedesigner: Felix Nussbaum Museum / Daniel Libeskind | ArchDaily

Architecture+Molding · May 16, 2011

Felix Nussbaum Museum / Daniel Libeskind: Architects: Daniel Libeskind Location: Osnabrueck, Germany Architect o...

SymmetryDevelopments · May 16, 2011
shuichism · May 16, 2011

Felix Nussbaum Museum / Daniel Libeskind | ArchDaily

Gabriel Alvernaz · May 16, 2011

Felix Nussbaum Museum / Daniel Libeskind | ArchDaily via @archdaily --- acho q o Libeskind anda forçando uma barra sabe

Architecture Network · May 16, 2011

Felix Nussbaum Museum / Daniel Libeskind

r s · May 16, 2011

ArD Felix Nussbaum Museum / Daniel Libeskind: © Bitter Bredt Architects: Daniel Libeskind…

Erik Joya · May 16, 2011

Felix Nussbaum Museum / Daniel Libeskind: © Bitter Bredt Architects: Daniel Libeskind…

Mohsen Akbarzadeh · May 16, 2011

dislike! just look at plan. 60 years ago!

Chiaro Scuro · May 16, 2011

So, since the linear apertures in his other buildings have been referred to as the scars of the Jewish people, which he has repeatedly in other projects than the Jewish museum in Berlin, would these larger openings be considered the wounds of the Jewish people?

Robb · May 16, 2011 09:46 PM

No, these are body cavities of the Jewish people, if you catch my drift.

lara · May 16, 2011

Damn... hostile crowd.... well, i just visited Libeskind's adition to Denver Art Museum, and it has basically the same idea.... maybe it's just a "hard"idea... maybe it's his style, i'm not sure if this one clicks it..... but DAM's adition was great.... gretings from Mexico

kapoo · May 16, 2011

libesking is beating a dead horse...enough of this already....retire or get a new idea!

Bix · May 17, 2011 07:56 AM

This one was completed 1 year before the Jewish museum in Berlin !!

K · May 16, 2011

ah, i used to admire him for creating the extension of Jewish Museum in Berlin. Now, I really hate him. His recent works are disappointing, including this one.

Al · May 16, 2011 10:19 PM

I think 99% of architects would agree with you, Mister K...

alexandra · May 16, 2011

i`ve never seen this before in my life!
ah, wait...i have :)


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© Bitter Bredt Fotografie

菲利克斯•努斯鲍姆博物馆 / Daniel Libeskind