The name "Gewandhaus" means a building where cloth is traded. Originally merchants used to sell their cloth there.
The first Gewandhaus was built in 1781 by the architect Johann Carl Friedrich Dauthe. The second opened in 1884, and was destroyed in the fire-bombings of World War II between 1943 and 1944. The third Gewandhaus, which stands now, was opened on 8 October 1981. It is known for its fine acoustics.