Art & Architecture #2 THE INITIAL SITUATION

The task: revitalize a building with art.

»Wellness for Buildings«

The so-called »Haus am Zwinger« stands at a prominent position, right at the heart of the city of Dresden, opposite the famous Zwinger palace. The building appears to be a functional, purpose-built building, which could not find any successful use over the past 15 years – practically since it was constructed.

Specialized in redevelopment, the German property development group Denkmalneu buys the building and gives the entire site a creative mixed use. In the process, a novel, holistic design concept emerges jointly with the Austrian artist SHA.: »Das Lebendige Haus« (The Living House).


»Das Lebendige Haus« (The Living House) implies that there is – or was – also a »Dead House«. Hence from a larger perspective, the project is about revitalization, a kind of revival, indeed an awakening. It seemed to us a good idea to not only thoughtfully and strategically prepare such an existential step inwards, but to explicitly show it outwards, too – to allow it to make an appearance. So it is about appearance, about ensoulment … about »inspiration«. It is in this sense that our suggestion for a new face for the building should be understood.

An extension of the building’s shell, a second skin, that turns itself inwards. We are talking about a light, quasi immaterial shell, indeed a kind of »aura« of light and sound that ensures vitality. Formally based on an organic language of forms that seems alive, a curved wave instead of strict, pragmatic geometry. Lightness instead of heaviness. Bright colourfulness instead of monotonous grey. Dynamism and change instead of rigidity and stasis. A new sign of life, of change, on the building, on the site, on site in Dresden.