This 19th century building is located in downtown Braunau am Inn, near Austria’s border with Germany. It’s a normal 3-storey building without any extraordinary architectural features. For the Austrian government it has been like a thing that was stuck in the throat with no clue as to what needs to be done with this building. Do you know why this building is so peculiar?
Yes, this building, once a modest guest house, was the place where Adolf Hitler was born. Although he only lived in the building a short time, Nazi sympathizers from around the world continue to visit the property which is a matter of concern for the government.
Over the years, the house has served as a makeshift museum, a school and a library. For more than three decades an organization offering support and integration assistance for disabled people ran a workshop in the building, but the group moved out in 2011 because the owner refused to renovate the building.
The government didn’t want the building to become tourist spot for the neo Nazis and wanted to demolish. However, the proposal was strongly opposed by the historians as a result of which the idea had to be dropped. In early 2017, the government expropriated the building from its private owner, triggering a long legal battle over compensation which ended in 2018.
A redesign competition for the building’s new purpose was called last year in November and the results of the same was announced last week. Well known architecture firm Marte.Marte. beat out 11 other competitors with their simple, modern redesign for the building. The plans, however, do not tamper with the substance of the original building, but give it a fresh facade.
There are no plaques, except for an engraved rock in front of the house that reads: “Fascism never again” but does not mention Hitler by name. The rock will be moved to a museum and that the design is meant make the building political neutral and deter Neo-Nazi visitors. The government expects the refurbishment project will be completed by early 2023 and that the project will cost around €5 million ($5.6 million).