1921 – 1931
Design: Bernhard Hoetger, Alfred Runge, Eduard Scotland
Böttcherstraße in the old town center of Bremen, about 110 meters long, was originally the home and workplace of barrel makers.
The Bremen entrepreneur Ludwig Roselius, who had made a fortune with the invention of decaffeinated coffee HAG, collected antiques and art, being particularly interested in objects of Nordic origin.
In 1902, he bought a former Kontorhaus in Bremen’s Böttcherstrasse, which was in danger of falling into disrepair.
This was the start of his involvement in Böttcherstrasse, which he subsequently had transformed into a representative showcase for his company and a total work of art.
In 1924, he acquired the heritable building right for the properties at Böttcherstrasse 15–19 from the state of Bremen for a period of 60 years.
After two years of negotiations, this made it possible to continue the new development of Böttcherstrasse on the west side after the conversion of the Roseliushaus and the warehouses at Böttcherstrasse 4–5 into the Bremen-Amerika Bank.
Roselius had convinced the Senate and the city’s building authorities with his plan to create a small colony for artists and small artisans with studios, stores and apartments in the vicinity of Bremen’s market square in keeping with the North German building tradition.
After Roselius finally bought the entire street, he commissioned the architects Alfred Runge and Eduard Scotland as well as the artist Bernhard Hoetger to build or demolish and rebuild a total of six houses.
Between 1923 and 1926, a whole series of houses were built in the brick expressionist style, mostly according to the plans of the architects Runge and Scotland.
The result was an expressionist ensemble with extensive facade decoration and figural ornamentation.
Robinson Crusoe Haus
The Robinson Crusoe House (Böttcherstraße 1) was built in 1931 as the last house on the street and was designed by Karl von Weihe and Ludwig Roselius. Roselius chose the novel character Robinson Crusoe as the godfather for the house, as he exemplifies the Hanseatic drive and pioneering spirit.
The interior was designed by the architects Alfred Runge and Eduard Scotland.
The furnishings of the house have been largely lost.
In the staircase, wooden panels with scenes from the story of Robinson Crusoe, carved and colored by Theodor Schultz-Walbaum, have survived.
On the first floor are the twelve colored leaded glass windows made by Bernhard Hoetger in 1926 and the sculptures ‚Silver Lion, Carrying the Day‘ and ‚Panther, Carrying the Night‘ made of bronze in 1913.
Haus St. Petrus
Haus St. Petrus (Böttcherstraße 3–5) was built between 1923 and 1927 according to plans by architects Alfred Runge and Eduard Scotland and served as a restaurant until its destruction in the war.
The Roselius House (Böttcherstraße 6) is the oldest of the buildings in the street, its foundation walls dating back to the 14th century. It first served Ludwig Roselius as his administrative headquarters and was expanded in 1928 according to plans by Carl Eeg and Alfred Runge to house his extensive art collection.
Haus der Sieben Faulen
The House of the Seven Lazy Men (Böttcherstrasse 7) was built between 1924 and 1927 according to plans by Alfred Runge and Eduard Scotland. It housed the advertising rooms of Kaffee HAG and the offices of the Deutscher Werkbund.
The figures of the Seven Lazy Ones on the gable facing the street Hinter dem Schütting, which give the building its name, were created between 1924 and 1926 according to designs by the sculptor Aloys Röhr from Münster.
Today, only the former tasting room of the coffee HAG with tiled walls has been preserved from the original furnishings of high artistic value.
Haus des Glockenspiels
The Haus des Glockenspiels (Böttcherstraße 4) was built between 1922 and 1924 by converting two old warehouses according to plans by Alfred Runge and Eduard Scotland.
The first carillon was inaugurated in 1934 and consisted of thirty bells made of Meissen porcelain.
To the carillon move laterally in a tower ten carved and colorfully painted wooden panels with motifs of the ocean conquerors, the explorers and adventurers who crossed the ocean by ship or by air, based on designs by Bernhard Hoetger.
After destruction during the war, the second carillon was erected in 1954, and was replaced by a third carillon during renovation work in 1991. Hoetger’s wooden panels survived the war undamaged.
Paula Modersohn-Becker Haus
The Paula Modersohn-Becker House (Böttcherstrasse 8–9) was built between 1926 and 1927 to designs by Bernhard Hoetger and contained a store for local arts and crafts, an inn, an exhibition room, and workshops for artisans in the courtyard.
A room on the third floor was reserved for the works of artist Paula Modersohn-Becker.
It was the first museum ever dedicated to a female artist and still displays the most extensive collection of paintings by the artist.
The Paula Modersohn Becker House was originally connected to the gable of the House of the Seven Lazy Men by a bridge.
The bridge window, designed by Bernhard Hoetger as a pictorial work, was replaced in 1936 at the insistence of the National Socialist rulers by Hoetger’s relief in gilded bronze of the Archangel Michael.
The fountain in the courtyard with the clay reliefs of the Seven Lazy Men and the Bremen Town Musicians on the fountain pipe is also a design by Bernhard Hoetger.
During the reconstruction of the section of the building that was severely damaged in the war, the towers and shield wall were considerably simplified in places and the craftsmen’s courtyard was opened up to the street.
In 1931, the Atlantis House (Böttcherstrasse 2) was completed, which differs from the existing buildings on Böttcherstrasse solely in its materials of glass, steel and concrete.
Built from 1929 to 1931 to designs by Bernhard Hoetger based on the ideas of Ludwig Roselius and Herman Wirth, the demonstratively modern functional building in reinforced concrete was intended, among other things, for an institute for the study of the legendary Atlantis.
In 1933, the Museum Väterkunde, which Roselius had commissioned Hans Müller-Brauel to build in 1927, moved into the Atlantis House.
The controversial museum, in which Ludwig Roselius housed his extensive prehistoric collections, wanted to derive Nordic as well as American culture from the lost Atlantis.
The facade, reframed in the postwar period, was originally gridded and vertically articulated by steel columns extending to the apex of the roof.
This structural framework supported a wood-carved façade program designed by Hoetger above the entrance axis.
The so-called Tree of Life was a monumental pictorial work consisting of a yearly wheel, a cross and a sun disk, a cultural symbolic representation for the beginning of life, from which the beginning of the year and thus at the same time the human being grows.
The Tree of Life was fiercely opposed by the Nazis and ultimately burned during the war.
The facade, renewed in 1954 by the architects Max Säume and Günther Hafemann with a depiction of the heavenly bodies, was hidden by an ornamented brick wall created between 1964 and 1965 by the artist Ewald Mataré.
Since 1935, the attacks of the National Socialists against Böttcherstraße increased. The National Socialist press, which was in line with the Nazis, demanded a reconstruction and even the demolition of some parts of Böttcherstrasse.
In 1937, Albert Speer, of all people, placed Böttcherstrasse under a preservation order as an example of the so-called decayed art of the Weimar period.
In 1944, large parts of Böttcherstraße were destroyed.
The facades were largely restored to their original condition until 1954, financed by the Kaffee-HAG company.
Since 1973, the street has been listed as a historic monument. In 1999, the street was extensively renovated.