The NEW Buddenbrookhaus

Project outline

The Buddenbrookhaus, the setting for Thomas Mann's novel Buddenbrooks and the ancestral seat of the Mann family, is one of the most successful literature museums in Germany. The number of visitors on guided tours, the growing collection, the expanding library - they have taken the house to the edge of its capacity. There is a lack of educational rooms, the building and the exhibition are not sufficiently barrier-free, and the exhibition is also outdated in terms of scenography and content. For this reason, the Federal Government has financed the purchase of the neighbouring plot of land, giving the Buddenbrookhaus the chance to double its area.

The NEUE Buddenbrookhaus wants to increase its possibilities: more Buddenbrooks, more Mann family, more literature, more interaction, more education, more research, more independent discovery...To this end, the permanent exhibition will be completely redesigned, i.e. it will also be brought up to date in terms of design and museum education.

The construction task in the partly listed building stock is complex: The listed facade of the Buddenbrookhaus in Mengstraße 4 is a cultural icon and as such world famous. The façade of Mengstraße 6, by whose property the Buddenbrookhaus will be extended, is also under protection. In addition, the medieval cellars give an impression of the historical building fabric, and the centuries-old fire walls between the houses are also listed in the city's register of monuments. The architectural challenge is to create a unified, barrier-free museum space away from the facades and above the cellars, which brings architecture and exhibition into perfect harmony and respects the protection of historic monuments. The aim is to reflect the bourgeois tradition architecturally and to extend it structurally to include the international standing of the Mann family and their work. This also means regaining a feeling for the historical vastness and spaciousness of the former merchant's house. The NEUE Buddenbrookhaus wants to build a bridge between the past and the present and make it possible for the traditional building materials and traditional architecture not only to be visited as witnesses of the past, but also to face the future in a place that is both vital and public.

In an anonymous, Europe-wide competition, TMH S Architects (Lübeck) and facts and fiction (Berlin/Cologne) won the competition for the building construction and for the scenography.