Memorial Honorary Grove Zeithain

Memorial Honorary Grove Zeithain

Concept and realization of the permanent exhibition

Architecture, exhibition, lighting

With the literal planting of a new architectural-thematic heart, the “walk-in showcase” as a micro-architectural implantation in the historical RAD barracks preserved from the former prisoner-of-war camp Zeithain, the bridge between (structural) past and present is successfully built.
This glass structure, a microclimatic soundproof object, thematizes not only time but also space in a special way and, as a time capsule in a place with a special auratic effect, it creates a deliberate irritation that sensitizes the visitor to the exhibition theme. In the document house the visitor has the possibility to work on the offered thematic focal points in the operable micro-architectural information sculptures, which are executed in the same exhibition language, whereby new visual axes are offered again and again and an intensive reference to the content material is created with light/ mirrors.

Sachsenburg concentration camp

The Glass House

Competition Kommandantenvilla KZ Sachsenburg

2021 we took part in the competition for the redesign of the “Kommandantenvilla” in the memorial site KZ Sachsenburg with this contribution.

Short concept / Explanation

At the beginning of the day, the prisoners of the camp were brought to the central yard, the roll call square. From there, the prisoners had an unobstructed view of the commandant’s house, where he lived with his family. And he had a view of the prisoners lining up in the yard from his house. In the post-war years, this line of sight was blocked by the construction of another garage between the commandant’s house and the square. In our contribution we made two proposals.

1. The installation of a billboard with the image of the Commandant’s House restores the visual connection between the house and the square.

2. The initiators of the competition stated that the Commandant’s House should be demolished up to the height of the base and the basement of the house should be filled in. Our proposal was to replace the commandant’s house with a glass house that would reflect the shape and volume of the original. This glass house was to be used for growing plants, fruits, and vegetables and could serve as a meeting, learning, and activity space for youth.

Competition entry together with Susan Donath

Garden Post Bad Mukau

Garden Post Bad Mukau

Exhibition of Prince Pueckler in England, Bad Muskau

Modular exhibition system as a micro-architectural implantation for the revival of historical inventory

Our modular exhibition system offers the visitor the opportunity to discover the creative and pragmatic development process of the unique Muskauer Park by means of the correspondence between Prince Hermann von Pueckler during his trip to England/Ireland in 1826-28 and Princess Lucie.
Organic growth as a central element in garden art as well as the fragmentary, perfection and imperfection associated with it, the liveliness as an ongoing process of change and development are universal themes that find expression in this exhibition sculpture. In a unique spatially-autonomous quality, the modular object made of maple wood condenses the individual thematic areas: the three protagonists Prince Pueckler, his wife Lucie and Rehder, the gardener have their say; the garden itself as well as the planned buildings.

By means of a color concept, the visitor finds orientation in terms of content and can immerse himself in the themes according to his own interests. On a visual as well as content level, he is equally drawn from the outside to the inside by the object, which is in dialogue with the surrounding interior and exterior space. The creative process within the design and structure of the microarchitectural implantation in the New Palace, combined with the creative process of Pueckler’s unique horticultural design in Muskau, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, forms a singular total artistic exhibition experience for the visitor. In the interplay of architecture and exhibition theme, the organic growth of an idea, the landscape garden, becomes comprehensible.

Competition: 1st place

Services: Planning HOAI Lph. 1-9, exhibition design and graphics

Client: Foundation Fürst-Pückler-Park Bad Muskau New Palace, Fürst-Pückler-Park Bad Muskau 2005

AMD Dresden, Concept for Light and Color

AMD Dresden

Concept for light and color

For the new premises of AMD’s Dresden branch.
5G antennas are being developed at the Dresden site.

The planning included laboratory and development spaces as well as offices and social areas, and a work café area.
Lighting concept for modern working environments of today, tailored to the individual requirements of each area.
Combination of standard-compliant lighting in accordance with the requirements of DIN and ASR and discreetly designed lighting, which ensure a sense of well-being at the workplace.
The requirements stipulated light for flexible uses (work café – meetings during the day, group work and ceremonial gatherings in the company, but easy to control).
Our goal was to create a workplace that offers different requirements, where people like to stay and with ideal working conditions.

Erich Kaestner Museum Dresden

Erich Kaestner Museum Dresden

Museum/exhibition architecture, color concept, space program, reconstruction of the museum building, event and administration areas

The micromuseum®, a modern piece of architecture, artwork and interactive working tool developed by Ruairí O’Brien, reflects the multifaceted personality and work of the world-famous children’s book author, poet, media man and journalist Erich Kaestner.

The careful insertion of a new “heart” into the listed Villa Augustin on Albertplatz, the former home of Kaestner’s uncle, by means of a micro-architectural implantation of a house into the house -consisting of a multimedia core and 13 mobile life-size information modules- creates a lively bridge between past, present and future as well as all generations. By examining and operating the life-size building blocks as well as the multimedia components, the visitor gains access to the exhibition content and provides insights into the complex Erich Kaestner world. Into which he can gain insights on a self-directed route and at his own pace.

Services: Museum concept, planning HOAI Lph.1-9, exhibition design and graphics
Client: Förderverein für das Erich Kästner Museum Dresden

The interactive journey of discovery

In Dresden’s Neustadt, where Erich Kaestner lived from 1899 to 1917, the concept of a “walk-in treasure chest” was staged by Ruairi O’Brien. While the conventional museum usually only invites its guests to contemplate, the visitor of the interactive micromuseum has to become active himself.
When the visitor enters the museum at Antonstr. 1, he stands directly in front of an elegant object that stands two meters high, three meters long and 1.2 meters wide. This object is the museum itself, it is a work of art in itself, which the visitor must examine and operate in order to access the information it contains. Like building blocks, a dozen individual parts can be detached, the interior parts of which turn out to be well-stocked bookshelves, drawers that can be pulled open, and display cases for photographs and personal objects. A walk-in core is installed in the center of the room, a kind of multimedia time machine. In addition to books and other original objects, the Kaestner researcher will find audio and video technology as well as a work station in the core, by means of which the latest information on Erich Kaestner can be accessed in several languages.
Through architectural work, Ruairi O’Brien illustrates and unites several real spaces from Kaestner’s life in one place. The use of the virtual space achieves the greatest possible audience impact while at the same time providing ecological benefits by saving movement.

The architectural concept

Through the resource-saving, micro-architectural implantation, Ruairi O’Brien’s museum concept not only revitalized authentic old building fabric, but at the same time made an important urban area in the middle of Dresden’s Neustadt accessible to the public for the first time.
This living preservation of historical buildings fulfills the claim of preserving the historical and transporting it into the present and future by bringing the existing identity (old building structure) to fruition and placing it in harmony with the new (current content and functionality).
The individual visitor is invited to discover the life-size museum building blocks according to his or her own mood and individual pace and to “look behind” them, to delve into individual objects. Each of these building blocks is an independent object that, together with the other elements, in turn forms a self-sufficient whole.

Light Story Teller memorial area Dresden north

Light Story Teller

Art – Architecture – Light concept for the memorial area Dresden North – Competition entry

The concept light storyteller is an expression of an immersive culture of remembrance. The light/shadow sculptures, which can be executed in different heights, dimensions and angles, intertwine the historical past with the sensual present, mark interdependencies between the places of remembrance and involve visitors in an immediate, low-threshold way through interaction with solar geometry.

The urban dimensioning takes up the meaning of the theme and the scale of the area/site in question. The aesthetic language expresses the existential hardness and force of the historical events, makes perpetrator attitude and victim feeling tangible. The light counter objects form a roof, are flexible anchor points, create microclimatic, sensually and cognitively stimulating spaces for diverse individual and communal, for analog, media and digital interventions, reflections and activities.

Diverse light guidance and control variants are playable via a light-shadow plan with narrative dramaturgy.

Exhibition TME, Washington D.C.

Exhibition TME, Washington D.C.

Travelling Micromuseum Exhibition of the Erich Kaestner Museum

On October 29, 2014, the Travelling Micromusem Exhibition (TME) in honor of the famous German writer Erich Kaestner opened in Washington D. C. at the German Embassy (designed by Egon Eiermann in 1962). In the years between 1962 and 1964, the embassy building was built according to a design by Egon Eiermann. It is the only building of this architect outside Germany. It was renovated from 2010 to 2014. The mobile exhibition, which will be shown in other U.S. cities over the next six months, was conceived and created by architect and lighting designer Ruairi O’Brien. He is also president of the Erich Kaestner Museum in Dresden.
The aim of O’Brien’s concept is to present the important stages in the life of the author, who became world-famous particularly through his children’s books. The individual sections of the Micromuseum reflect the stations in Kaestner’s life, his four major places of activity Dresden, Leipzig, Berlin and Munich.
Kaestner draws portraits of big city life in many of his books. This is particularly inspiring for architects and urban planners, because the depictions of a city like Berlin in the 1930s, which Kaestner describes in works like “Emil and the Detectives” or “Fabian,” are like a kind of blueprint for cities that no longer exist. This element also appears in his autobiography “Als ich ein kleiner Junge war”. Here, Kaestner describes Dresden before the bombing on February 13, 1945, impressively showing that some aspects of a city are irretrievably lost after its destruction. Such a book is a reminder that war destroys many things irretrievably.

SKD Museum Laboratory

SKD Museum Lab

Interactive Museum Project for the Dresden State Art Collections

In order to make it possible for students of different ages to actively experience how a museum collection is created, architect Ruairí O’Brien developed the “Museum Lab” as an extracurricular learning opportunity for students on the occasion of the 450th anniversary of the Dresden State Art Collections in 2010.

Extracurricular learning venues have complemented and extended primary instruction in schools since the beginning of the reform education movements. As important mediators of cultural education, museums represent special out-of-school learning venues. To enable students of different ages to actively experience how a museum collection is created, Ruairí O’Brien developed the “Museum Lab” as an extracurricular learning opportunity for students on the occasion of the 450th anniversary of the Dresden State Art Collections in 2010.

The centerpiece: an interactive sculpture

The centerpiece of this special learning environment is an interactive sculpture designed by O’Brien, which served as an experimental collection and presentation surface. In five successive workshops, different groups of students dealt with the themes of “Creation,” “Desire,” “Inquisitiveness,” “Confrontation,” and “Radiance,” thus working through the developmental stages of a museum collection in a playful, compressed form.

Learning big things on a small scale

Each group first dealt with the results of the previous group’s work and then worked on them further. The students experienced “in fast motion” what it means to create a complete work over several generations and to deal responsibly with cultural heritage. This gave them a playful introduction to the institution of museums and allowed them to reflect on the role and significance that museums have for themselves and for society.

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Hologram Machine German Hygiene Museum

Hologram Machine

Holographic Exhibition Module for the German Hygiene Museum, Dresden

The architectural concept conveys the history of the building in the mirror of its leading objects. The human being as a body that can be disassembled and made transparent is compared to architecture and inspired by it (structural representation of skin, skeleton, organs; proportions, symmetry / asymmetry etc.). The wholeness of the human body, assembled from individual parts, corresponds to the interplay of architectural modules, each of which, as a microarchitectural, self-sufficient element, at the same time forms a part of the whole. A first module, the architectural installation “Winged Altar” for the “Anima” returning from EXPO 2000, was already on display at the German Hygiene Museum.

Client: German Hygiene Museum Foundation

Leipzig, Information Sculpture “89”

Leipzig, Information Sculpture “89”

20 years of peaceful revolution – information sculpture / exhibition

Client: City of Leipzig / Leipzig Tourismus und Marketing GmbH

On the occasion of the anniversary of the peaceful revolution this spatial information-sculpture was created. Panels inform about the historical event in autumn 1989, and about the Leipzig Light Festival and the artists participating in it. The sculpture thus forms a connecting element to the current installations taking place in public space and informs visitors about the historical events of 1989.