Unsupported browser

For a better experience please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Libeskind's memorial to an exiled artist

  • Comment
news in pictures

Daniel Libeskind's first completed building opened this week in Osnabruck, Germany. The Felix Nussbaum Building houses over 160 paintings and graphic works by Jewish artist Felix Nussbaum, along with temporary exhibitions and information about the artist's life. Born in Osnabruck in 1904, Nussbaum had to live outside Germany following the rise of fascism, and in 1944 was deported to Auschwitz, where he died.

Libeskind's timber, concrete and zinc building is an extension of the Museum of Cultural History, once the local hq of the Nazi party. The 2424m2 extension contains 890m2 of exhibition space, as well as a foyer, presentation room, cafe, offices, workshop, archives, storage, and circulation space.

Based on a system of reference lines which symbolise Nussbaum's constant movement, displacement, and exile, elements in the new complex are offset from each other and from the existing buildings. Sloping floors, constant changes in orientation, and the strategic positioning of windows create a thoroughly disorientating effect. Entry is by a pathway which marks an axis between the city centre and a now incinerated synagogue which once stood behind the site. The path crosses an arched bridge, dating from 1671, rediscovered just before construction started. Visitors can turn right into a tower-like 'vertical museum' which will house temporary multi-media installations, or left onto the main gallery space.

Libeskind was commissioned by the City of Osnabruck after beating almost 300 entrants in competition in spring 1995. Watermann-Dr. Ehlers was the structural engineer, Cornelia Muller & Jan Wehberg the landscape architect, and Jan Dinnebier the lighting consultant. Reinders & Partner was responsible for cost and site control. The project started on site in September 1996 and was completed for a total construction cost of 14.6 million dm, including restoration of the seventeenth-century bridge.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.