The Kunsthalle Osnabrück is located in the buildings of a former Dominican church and its adjacent cloister complex in the heart of the city of Osnabrück. Built in Gothic style as the “Cloister of the Holy Cross” of the mendicant order of the Dominicans, the origins of the structure go back as far as 1283. What followed was an eventful history, in the course of which parts of the buildings were repeatedly destroyed by fire, looting or war and were rebuilt.
During the Napoleonic wars the Dominican church and cloister finally fell victim to secularisation in 1803, and acquired a profane purpose as the drill hall and magazine of an infantry barracks. Nor was the Dominican church able to withstand the Allied bombing raids during the Second World War. During these attacks 94 percent of the medieval historic inner city of Osnabrück was destroyed.
In post-war times the church nave served temporarily as a storage area for the scenery from the theatre. It was only in the wake of the renovation of the historic inner city that this jewel of city architecture was rediscovered, then restored in the 1960s and gradually took shape as the meeting place with the visual arts.
After another renovation in 1992, the multipurpose function room, which - up to then - had mostly been used for exhibitions and concerts, was handed over by the City Council for its final purpose as an exhibition centre and discussion forum for contemporary art.
Nach einer erneuten Renovierung im Jahr 1992 wurde der bis dato hauptsächlich für Ausstellungen und Konzerte genutzte Mehrzweckveranstaltungsraum durch den Rat der Stadt seiner endgültigen Bestimmung als Ausstellungszentrum und Diskussionsforum für zeitgenössische Kunst übergeben.