The Felix Nussbaum Haus originally designed by Daniel Libeskind, completed in the summer of 1998, was his first completed project. The new extension also designed by Libeskind opened in May 2011 and provides an entrance hall with museum shop as well as learning center on the upper floor. Attached to the Kunstgeschichtliche Museum and connected to the FNH by a glass bridge it transforms the existing buildings into a more cohesive complex with the new extension acting as a gateway. As part of the transformation, the lower floor of the KGM has been redesigned to include a flexible lecture hall and event space, caterings facilities, cloak rooms and restrooms for both buildings.
By use of color and material the extension relates to both museums. The grey plaster provides a stark contrast to the Kunstgeschichtliche Museum on one side and the Akzisehaus on the other. Fine anthracite colored frames accentuate the windows within the plaster surface. Thus the new building seamlessly integrates with the museum ensemble while establishing its own unique expression.
Rather than adding an additional element, the extension appears to be a prism refracting the vectors of the existing buildings. The facade becomes a screen onto which the geometries of all openings of the FNH are projected, resulting in a line matrix for the composition of the windows. Different from the windows in the existing FNH, which appear to be cut into the walls, the windows in the building extension protrude from the facade as independent elements.
From within, the windows provide beautifully fractured views of the surroundings putting them into new context. The visitor can access the FNH through a glazed bridge that offers views of the garden, the FNH, the KGM, the Akzisehaus and Heger Tor. With its bold steel structure the bridge is reminiscent of the open bridge that previously formed the access to the FNH. Alternatively, visitors may use the stair with glazed handrails to access the lower or upper floor of the KGM. An elevator is also provided.
“It is such an exciting moment to return to the Felix-Nussbaum-Haus, my first completed project. As an architect it is a great honor to be asked to design an extension to this museum for the city of Osnabrück. It is a true celebration that the museum for Nussbaum (who was once a forgotten artist) is growing and expanding not only architecturally but also in our hearts and minds. The integration of the new extension with the present symbolizes that the memory of Nussbaum will have a vibrant and ongoing narration.”