Schwarzatal, Sommerfrische Haus Bräutigam

New Hospitality and Renovation Culture

Many of the beautiful half-timbered houses in Schwarzatal with their porches and outdoor seating areas, built for the guests of the Sommerfrische, are now empty. They bear witness to the former and largely past heyday of tourism and often present a sad sight today. At the same time, they raise the question of how to deal with the continuation and reinterpretation of centuries-old tradition.

But the Sommerfrische houses are not forgotten! A guesthouse built in 1907 by the client and host Lydia Bräutigam in Schwarzburg was saved from demolition thanks to many attentive architecture enthusiasts, in order to be used flexibly and collectively in the future. It is too small for a hotel, and too large for a single family. This architecture is ideal for temporary work and living for guests and association members from the region and beyond. This new Sommerfrische in Schwarzburg is creating a new form of hospitality between city and countryside.

For the time being, the association Zukunftswerkstatt Schwarzatal e. V. took over the vacant house from the former owner. In 2018, the association asked a group of scientific staff members from the Chair of Design and Housing Construction at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, who were staying in the valley for a study project, to give their assessment of the condition of the house. This quickly led to an initiative by the architects Jessica Christoph, Christine Dörner, Till Hoffmann and Henning Michelsen, who developed a perspective for the house as part of the IBA Thuringia. In 2019, the association Haus Bräutigam was founded from the initiative, which now has 15 members. That same year, Haus Bräutigam became an IBA project.

Haus Bräutigam in Schwarzburg 2018, Foto: Thomas Müller
After the first opening of the regional well-known ›Tag der Sommerfrische‹ in August 2018, it became apparent how important the Bräutigam House was, especially for the population of Schwarzburg. Many visitors told stories about the house and its builder, Lydia Bräutigam: In the GDR, it served as a hotel for a company vacation home, and after reunification, it was bought and probably only briefly operated.
Although the neighborhood was able to prevent gross vandalism, the nearly 25 years of vacancy took a toll on the structure.

In 2020, the house and property were transferred to the special fund StadtLand Thuringia, which was founded by the IBA Thuringia with the trias foundation. The association Haus Bräutigam e. V. then signed a 99-year lease agreement with the foundation. One of the driving forces for the association members was the foundation's focus on the common good. The proceeds from the lease payments for the house are being used for new initiatives in Thuringia that work in a similar open and community-building way as the association.

Erste Bauschule Haus Bräutigam 2021_Fotograf Thomas Müller
However, the renovation of an existing building is not without its challenges, and the Haus Bräutigam was no exception. The association had to deal with surprises typical of renovation projects, such as woodworm infestations and a clogged downpipe that caused moisture damage. But with a passion for architecture, craftsmanship, and especially for learning together on site, the association worked tirelessly on the renovation of the house.
Haus Bräutigam 1. Bauschule_Foto Thomas Müller
Since 2021, the association has been inviting craftsmen and curious individuals to participate, experiment and research in building schools, following the motto: Learning by doing. A special focus is always on the high-quality and sustainable use of materials that are regional, resource-saving and recyclable.
Haus Bräutigam Baustelle_Foto Thomas Mueller
With a lot of passion for architecture, the craft and especially learning together on site, the association is working on the restoration of the house.

The house is intended to be put into use for at least another 100 years with manageable effort, necessary technical equipment, and with the help of funding and a lot of volunteer work. At the same time, the association is testing a new form of hospitality, where both individual stays and collaborative work on various issues are possible.

The association reflects the diversity of topics, questions and discussions on renovation culture and new hospitality in a magazine series that reports on the collectively organized, resource-saving transformation.

The IBA project Sommerfrische Haus Bräutigam is part of the IBA project family in Schwarzatal.

IBA Projektgrafik Schwarzatal


Sommerfrische Haus Bräutigam
Am Schloßberg 10
07427 Schwarzburg

Project Partners

Zukunftswerkstatt Schwarzatal e.V.


  • Thüringer Ministerium für Infrastruktur und Landwirtschaft: »Modellprojekt der Regionalentwicklung« und »Revitalisierung von Brachflächen«
  • LEADER, Europäische Union, Freistaat Thüringen, LEADER Aktionsgruppe Saalfeld-Rudolstadt e. V.
  • Internationale Bauausstellung Thüringen GmbH

Architecture and Construction Management

Haus Bräutigam e.V.

IBA Project Manager

Ulrike Rothe


Gespräch mit Jessica Christoph_IBA Magazin 2022.pdf [pdf]


Sommerfrische Haus Bräutigam im IBA Finale 2023
2. Bauschule
1. Bauschule
Sondervermögen StadtLand Thüringen startet mit zwei Grundstücken im Schwarzatal
Ministerpräsident auf Thüringen-Tour macht Halt in Haus Bräutigam
IBA Fachbeirat empfiehlt Projektstatus für ›Haus Bräutigam‹

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