Felix Nussbaum Haus

Osnabrück, Germany


Dedicated to the oeuvre of a Jewish artist put to death at Auschwitz, the Felix Nussbaum Museum is an extension to the Cultural History Museum in Osnabrück, Germany, where Felix Nussbaum was born in 1904. As well as displaying paintings created by Nussbaum, the museum presents changing exhibitions focusing on the themes of racism and intolerance.

With sudden breaks in its pathways, unpredictable intersections, claustrophobic spaces, and dead ends, the structure of the building reflects the Nussbaum’s predicament as a Jewish painter in German before WWII.  Visitors enter by a tall and narrow central corridor, whose concrete exterior is a blank canvas and whose interior is a constricted space without horizon, evoking a visceral sense of how Nussbaum painted during his incarcerations, which is necessary to understand his oeuvre. As the corridor connects with the building’s other two main sections—a long main section, clad in containing his early paintings and a metal clad bridge building containing newly discovered works of Nussbaum and connecting to the old museum—the experience is not unlike going backward and forward in time.

The project was completed in 1998.


1998 – The Best of 1988 Design Awards – TIME Magazine