Museum of Light

Designing a Light Museum was an exciting and fulfilling topic for the students. It allowed them to explore the inspiring relationship between light and science, art, technology, and architecture while reflecting on their Egyptian heritage. The project’s location on a peninsula near the monuments of Abu Simbel, which celebrate sunlight during the winter and spring solstices, made it an even more fitting endeavor.

Light, a universal topic with transcultural significance, touches on profound subjects like poetry and philosophy as well as pragmatic concerns like energy, health, and economics. There are very few true “Light Museums” in the world. Most often, technical or science museums cover this topic, or art museums showcase artists’ interpretations of light. However, no museum or institute tells the story of light in all its consequences and expressions through a holistic experiential concept from building to exhibition. Abu Simbel, with its historical and mythological links to the power of light and its dam generating the country’s electricity, is an ideal location.

The question arises: can we construct a new building in such a historical context? My answer is unequivocally yes, but it leads to a finer question: should the new building be visible or hidden? This is a common challenge for architects working in historical contexts. The students’ excellent answers to this are showcased in the exhibition.

The project aimed to raise awareness among the students about the economic and social benefits that first-class contemporary architecture can bring to local communities. Long-term sustainability involves providing opportunities for people to thrive, encouraging local businesses to grow, and attracting outside investments. The project also included a Life Long Learning Institute, where visiting researchers and artists working with light could engage with local people, children, and youth projects. This is how architecture can extend its program to support regional development, providing a space for education, knowledge, tourism, business, and human exchange.

The bravery of repositioning the monuments to construct the Aswan Dam set a precedent for extending the story with a new visionary attraction of contemporary architecture, linked to Egypt’s ancient and modern history.

The bachelor project is the highlight for the students, marking the end of a long and sometimes stressful period of study. The rewarding feeling of deep achievement follows and cannot be taken away. Congratulations to all students for their enthusiastic work, and special thanks to my teaching assistants for their support this year, Abdelrahman Ghoneim and Marian Ghali.

Assoc. Prof. Ruairí O’Brien

Cairo 09.06.24



The House of Sustainability is an architectural study as the result of a multi-stage participatory planning process for the future use/development of a central area in the center of the forestry town of Tharandt. In the past, the German House (host cities, cultural hall, cinema) was located on this area. With the demolition of the former Deutsches Haus hotel and inn in 2014, a central inner-city fallow or empty area was created. The design presented here (tree house / house of sustainability) is the result of a feasibility study on the district development of the central inner-city location in the forestry town of Tharandt from 2014. The House of Sustainability design for Tharandt reflects the genius loci of the forestry town of Tharandt, brings together modern hi-tech and original nature and creates a symbiosis of city and natural landscape in dialogue with the traditional architecture of the surrounding area (church, castle, town hall). The glass facade creates transparency and draws attention into the interior. There is a large space there for trees and plants that need special protection in our climatic conditions or their own climate. In this way, the building also creates a link to the forest botanical garden, which can be expanded with the tree house/house of sustainability to include plants and plants from other latitudes on earth.

Re-Thinking Bismarck

Artistic-dicactic concept Re-Thinking Bismarck Reflections on Light and Shadow of History

The artistic-dicactic concept is an expression of an immersive culture of remembrance that stimulates a productive, critical discourse on various levels about the effect of the colonial-nationalist-ethnically charged Bismarck monument. The spatial light/shadow sculpture intertwines historical past with sensory present, marks relational interdependencies, and engages visitor:s in an immediate, low-threshold way through interaction with solar geometry.
Light and Shadow – Reflection, Change, Time. The object forms an overarching physical and artistic-philosophical roof for the mediation work taking place on site and the examination of Bismarck’s work, the historical context and the history of reception to date.
The urban planning dimensioning takes up the significance of the theme and the scale of the area as well as the location (monument object and park area) in order to create visibility and contextual connection. The object creates a long-distance and close-up effect and breaks with conventional expectations. The design language and surprising positioning trigger attention through irritation, thus questioning the massive presence and emotional impact of the monument.
The light/shadow object forms a roof and creates a microclimatic, sensually and cognitively stimulating space for diverse individual and communal, for analog, media and digital interventions, reflections and activities.
When viewed up close, the object forms an immersive time-space-light-human mesh that offers multi-layered levels of immersion and, through interaction with solar geometry, constantly tells of new things and allows new discoveries to be made.
A simple and large element whose roof, surface, pane blocks the incidence of sunlight and creates a walkable, playable space. This microclimatic space is darkened, colder than the surroundings; those who look up cannot see the sun. This break between outside and inside creates an immediate, low-threshold physical accessibility, sharpens instincts and senses, stimulates receptivity on a haptic and cognitive level. The interaction of shadow and light can be felt by everyone. It opens up spaces of sensation and understanding on a physical and metaphorical level, making the web of topography, history, absence, universality and sensory presence tangible.
A convex mirror in the light-blocking pane collects sunlight from the reflected environment and causes light rays or pools of light to travel across the floor or the dwell space for visitors:inside. Through these light movements caused by the mirror, certain historical moments can be made present.
The convex mirror creates connection/relationship between monument, object and visitor and makes the visitor part of the intervention – puts him in relation to monument, person, history, present, makes conscious these interdependencies and thus creates spaces for individual re-contextualizations.

The “distorted” image of the convex mirror of the Bismarck monument and its immediate surroundings opens up universal possibilities for reflection in the observation of persons and historical events.

AMD / Xilinx, Meeting rooms / Conference and communication areas

AMD / Xilinx Location Dresden

Meeting rooms / Conference and communication areas

Completion of the new premises of the Dresden branch of AMD according to the concept for light and colour by Ruairí O’Brien.
Location: Annenhöfe Dresden, Germany (2022)
Architect: O M Architekten GmbH BDA
Services: Interior design / colour concept / lighting design
Client: Xilinx Dresden GmbH / Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD)
Photos: Baldauf&Baldauf

Design Guide

Bauschulenstrasse design guide

Lively center Baumschulenstrasse-Köpenicker Landstrasse

The Integrated Urban Development Concept (ISEK) forms the basis for the development of the Baumschulenstrasse – Köpenicker Landstrasse area as part of the Living Centers and Quarters (LZQ) funding program. The aim is both to strengthen the district center around Baumschulenstrasse and to improve local supplies throughout the entire funding area. An attractive design of the public space and the existing buildings is a central component of an attractive commercial street, as is an appropriate external representation of the commercial businesses located in the ground floor zones. This design guide was developed to support local businesses and property owners in improving the appearance of their respective businesses and working towards a coordinated overall impression.

Dresden long-distance bus station

Dresden long-distance bus station

Mobility Hub: Terminal Long-distance Bus Station, Bicycle Parking Garage, Air Taxi

The Mobility Hub presented here has an innovative, modular and flexible overall concept that enables the tendered functions of bus station and bicycle parking garage and also provides an attractive space for different uses, such as offices, hotels, StartUp Centres, studios, shops, etc. The design is based on a simple construction principle.

The ingeniously simple construction principle allows for sectional and phased construction as well as flexible future development. Which offers the potential to adapt structurally to future changes without demolition.

The main structure of the building functions as a bridge over the bus station area to achieve an area as free of supports as possible, which can also be used differently in the future.

Two high-rise blocks will be built on the sides of the “bridge” (total height 50 m). These high-rise towers / Thinking Towers complement the semi-circle of high-rise buildings in the immediate vicinity on the northern side of the station, at the entrance to Prager Straße, and offer plenty of space for a wide variety of uses.

The concept succeeds in positioning a striking, versatile and forward-looking architecture at an enormously important location in terms of urban development, which is potentially capable of adapting structurally to changing requirements in the future and enables new uses when mobility, technology or market conditions change.

Tourist Guidance System for Neustadt in Saxony

Tourist Guidance System for Neustadt in Saxony

Holistic, individual orientation system in combination with a pedestrian guidance system and a parking guidance system

Consisting of individual elements:

  • Arrow signposts
  • Orientation boards (city and district maps)
  • Announcements (showcases / display cases)
  • Pin boards
  • Hiking boards / hiking maps
  • Welcome boards / town entrances
  • Parking guidance system / parking signs and arrow signposts

Planning services:

  • Phase zero / goal identification
  • Concept development (urban orientation concept)
  • Goals and route development based on target spiders
  • Application for funding / project management funding documents
  • Architectural concept (guiding system elements, design, dimensioning, materiality)
  • Cartography: city maps + panels
  • Signalling (signs, pictograms, contrast, font sizes)
  • Graphic design (corporate design, application and adaptation)
  • Text editing / translation (Czech / English)
  • Implementation / realization (project mangaement, construction supervision)


Municipality of Neustadt in Saxony

Period of development: 2019-2022

High-rise Buildings in Pirna-Sonnentein

High-rise Buildings in Pirna-Sonnentein

Renovation of corridor areas, concept for light and color, orientation concept for elderly people

In 15-story residential high-rise buildings in Pirna Sonnenstein, the public corridor areas were redesigned with fire protection measures taken into account. The interior of the buildings was thus made more attractive. Additional design measures also take into account the needs of older residents in particular.

The rooms were made brighter, friendlier and more individual. The individual floors stand out from one another with different color schemes and motifs, making orientation easier. To improve the quality of stay, an individual lighting concept was developed.

New, square surface-mounted luminaires illuminate the corridor area. Individually placed spotlights mark the entrance areas of the apartments. The walls were redesigned. Different individual wall motifs form eye-catching illustrations on each floor when exiting the elevator, creating a focal point at the end of the stub corridors and additionally helping with orientation within the building.

The entrance areas of the apartments were marked with color accents, and the doors and wall were kept in a uniform color, creating a sense of spaciousness in the narrow corridors. In addition to color-coordinated new flooring, the apartments received new doorbell buttons and large signs at eye level.

Handrails made of stainless steel, protective profiles for the existing wall corners and a new information board and signs for the escape routes increase the quality of stay and living for the residents.

Client: Städtische Wohnungsgesellschaft Pirna mbH, 2013-2015

AMD Dresden, office and labotarory rooms

AMD Location Dresden

Office and laboratory rooms

Interior design, colour concept, lighting design

Completion of the new premises of the Dresden branch of AMD according to the concept for light and colour by Ruairí O’Brien.


Study for space-optimised use for optimal fulfilment of operational functions, individual workplace needs and efficient use of space. Planning Office spaces, laboratory spaces, representative areas / reception area / reception, conference / meeting rooms (telephone rooms, micro-meeting rooms), informal meeting space / work café, laboratory and development spaces / server rooms, social areas (break rooms, tea kitchens, communication corners), telephone booths, bathroom / toilet spaces, circulation areas / corridors.

Planning objectives:

  • optimal use of space for employees, optimisation of the workplace situation to create attractive workplaces and compliance with occupational health and safety regulations,
  • Creation of modern working environments of today, attractive for international employees, tailored to the individual requirements of each area
  • For a working environment that offers ideal working conditions and is a pleasure to be in.


Study room layout for different numbers of workstations for different sizes of utilisation unit, planning interior design / room layout, furnishing concept, lighting concept, HOAI LP 1-8.

Location: Annenhöfe Dresden, Germany (2022)
Architect: O M Architekten GmbH BDA
Services: Interior design / colour concept / lighting design
Client: Xilinx Dresden GmbH / Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD)
Photos: Baldauf&Baldauf

Middle Building of Dora Concentration Camp Memorial, Nordhausen

Middle Building of Dora Concentration Camp Memorial, Nordhausen

Redesign of the didactic development of the tunnel complex

Competition entry, 3rd place

Our concept “Points and Lines” consists of two elements: Points of information and lines of paths in between. This concept includes the didactic idea that the light line guides the visitors and the information pillars (points) mark the destinations.
The information pillars or information light sculptures, convey the story and give the guided tours gathering points where the visitors get visual information and explanations together by the guide.
The light lines are guiding elements that lead to these information points and at the same time illuminate the space.
Both the information modules and the lighting are clearly different in their design from the original environment and thus convey a contrast to the original historic gallery. Since the exhibition elements are placed away from the walls and ceiling, they can be displayed while showing the surrounding environment.

We are pleased to have won third place in this competition with numerous renowned participants.

You can find our concept in detail here.