Art & Architecture #1 INTRODUCTION

Vienna/Dresden. A dead house is being brought back to life and is now opening its doors. It’s an easy story to tell.

A vacant building in a prominent, historically charged location is being revitalized with the aid of creativity – with the aid of art. And now a large percent-for-art project has started to shine, to sound, to oscillate: the »DNA« of artist SHA. stretches over 150 metres through the entire Lebendiges Haus (Living House). The existing architecture is evolving with the urban space into a »Holistic Design«.


1963: The 600-year-old Sophienkirche, the sole surviving Gothic church in Dresden, is torn down in an arbitrary decision by the GDR government and replaced by the GDR’s largest gastronomy project – a large canteen, known as »Fresswürfel« (feeding cube) in common parlance. Directly opposite the world-famous Zwinger palace.

1998: Considered an eyesore, the building was demolished and replaced by a new build after the reunification of Germany. The so-called »Haus am Zwinger« is constructed in a modern style by the Austrian architect Heinz Tesar after an international competition. Objections by the population concerning the historical significance of the site are largely ignored. The development of the building is tentative, it is only partly occupied, changes owner on a number of occasions and ultimately stands empty. A sad sight to behold at a prominent location.

2016: Specialized in redevelopment, the German property development group Denkmalneu buys the building and, together with the Viennese artist SHA., develops a new real estate concept on the basis of the existing building: »Das Lebendige Haus« (The Living House). More than 50 years after the GDR’s arbitrariness, the building of the present tries to build a sensitive bridge between the past and the future.


Now, after a long beauty sleep, the site has been brought back to life. A fairy tale? No ... Reality!

A core element of this new reality is »creativity« – the symbol of life. You can feel creativity in several places in this Lebendiges Haus (Living House): art flows through the entire building, inside and outside. It is art that was specially developed for this property. The artist SHA. closely accompanied the creation of The Living House and created the DNA for the building – as an »energetic backbone«.

Lights, colours, sounds and oscillations produce the distinctive spatial atmosphere. A glass double helix winds its way over 150 metres through the entire building. Its path takes it from the existing architecture to a holistic design. Because the DNA oscillates in its own temporal dimension.

The opportunity to »decelerate« opens a connection channel between the ages: from the spirit of the Sophienkirche to a new space of sensory reflection in the middle of our high-performance society.
As the artist SHA. says: »The immaterial value that emerges in an individual is the value of this art.«


Das Lebendige Haus (The Living House) will stay alive. The art will change over the course of time; it will adapt to the residents. But the building’s residents, tenants and guests will also change due to the art – ideally they will be inspired by the art. The future will tell whether or not that works ...

The distinctive service structure of the building will definitely grow with the people. And the mix of authentic shops, 5* design apartments, cool lofts, functional offices, a conference centre, an event location and the roof terrace with the most stunning view in Dresden will guarantee vitality.