Haus Bräutigam – Vacancies as spatial resources
The non-profit association is run by 15 researchers and practitioners from architecture, landscape and regional planning, cultural and social backgrounds, and students plus several people interested in sustainable development, self-construction, circular energy and building material, as well as rural development. Haus Bräutigam is a model project of the Thuringian Ministry of Infrastructure and project of the IBA Thüringen (International Building Exhibition Thuringia) since 2019.
Haus Bräutigam is a typical but vacant former »Sommerfrischehaus« in the rural area of Schwarzatal, Germany. Being a late 19th-century romantic idea of a timbered house and, at the same time, an owner-led hotel in the woods of the Thuringian Forest, it mirrors demographic, economic, and social changes in the area over the last decades.
In 2018, a local initiative saved the leftover building from destruction. Since 2019, a non-profit association with people from different backgrounds has been taking care of the house, its renovation and restoration. Regarding the state of renovation, Haus Bräutigam serves as a temporary collaborative living and working place.
Haus Bräutigam raises several questions on how to renovate a typical piece of architecture in the region: low-tech, climate-friendly, circular materialisation, and high-quality Baukultur. Therefore, it raises awareness of heritage and common goods, such as spatial resources, ecosystems, traditional craftsmanship, mobility, and local production of goods and food. The non-profit association Haus Bräutigam e.V. works in different formats, from hands-on workshops to cooperation with related regional projects and universities. We actively question how the building might serve as a place to learn together and how it relates to the local community. Therefore, we understand Haus Bräutigam as a model project on how to rebuild and reuse buildings with a minimal footprint to create a place that is operated and used commonly.