Böttcherstraße is a winding 100-metre-long alley between Bremen’s market square and the Weser River. Its ensemble of buildings, constructed between 1922 and 1931, displays an eclectic mix of architectural styles that unites Brick Gothic, Expressionism and Art Deco. Commissioned by Ludwig Roselius, founder of the Kaffee HAG brand, it is not only a “propaganda street” for his coffee but also an important example of architecture from the interwar period.
Böttcherstraße, or “Coopers’ Street”, was originally a place for craftsmen who, as the name suggests, produced barrels. The street lost its importance, however, at the end of the 19th century when Bremen’s port was relocated. In 1902, Ludwig Roselius first purchased house No. 6, had it renovated and later converted into a museum. After he had bought all the buildings along the street, he began in 1922 with the renovation or demolition and new construction of six houses. Of the buildings originally standing, only the Roselius House (No. 6) remained.
Roselius commissioned the expressionist sculptor, painter and architect Bernhard Hoetger to design two of the new buildings. One was the Paula Becker Modersohn House (1926/27), built in the Brick Expressionist style, which houses the world’s first museum dedicated to a female artist. The other was Atlantis House (1930/31), which Hoetger built using a steel structure, making unlike all the other buildings in the street. Particularly noteworthy are its Art Deco spiral staircase and the Himmelsaal, or “Sky Room”, whose ceiling is a vault of blue and white glass blocks that create a distinctive lighting mood.
Together with the Robinson Crusoe House, based on a design sketch by Roselius himself, Atlantis House marks the southern entrance to Böttcherstraße. Both share the same arcade motif. Three other buildings – St. Petrus House, the House of the Seven Lazy Brothers and the Glockenspiel House, or House of the Carillon – were designed by architects Eduard Scotland and Alfred Runge. Like the rest, they also have brick façades, a feature that unites the different buildings into a unified whole.
During the Second World War, Böttcherstraße was heavily damaged but had already been largely restored by 1954. The entire complex has been listed as a historic monument since 1936, and today it houses retail shops and restaurants along with various demonstration workshops and two museums. [KS/DK]
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Sparkasse Bremen has been responsible for the traditional 107 meters between Marktplatz and Martinistraße since 1988 – with heart and soul. With her Bremer Sparer-Dank foundation, she ensures that the characteristic architecture and cultural heritage of Bremen's "secret main street" is preserved.