The Initial Situation

The task

Revitalize a building with art.

»Wellness for Buildings«

The Idea Behind The Artwork

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:

Extension of the building's shell

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.

The Philosophical Inspiration

Time is a function of space

Time is a function of space.
And space is an astonishing function of time.

This realization provides the impulse for the formal development of the artwork. As such, time is contained in space, in front of us, in us:

What is there

Then we simply take what is there, the status quo. We take the solid, the solidly built grid of this functional architecture and put it in motion through an artistic intervention. We »dynamize« this building. We re»organ«ize this building’s structure and do so with means that are directly derived from its architecture. We do so by means of a digital network structure that we derive directly from the existing physical and architectural conditions on site.


Which opens up a TimeSpace – or indeed a SpaceTime – that produces an additional profundity in everyday life in Dresden: previous time, when the house stood idle, and subsequent time, when it will be revived, continue to live alongside one another in this profundity. And yes, the time when, having stood on precisely this site for 600 years, the Sophienkirche became Dresden’s only Gothic church to be torn down against the will of the population in an arbitrary act by the GDR government. Where the pain, where the wound of this city is still perceptible: there, art is light.


Art as a skin of light, as an aura of light is a powerful symbol for a deep understanding of vitality. This light is a point of connection, quasi the »wormhole« that connects dimensions – between the dead house and The Living House, between past and future. A space-time reflection with a historical and social dimension. Healing.

The Visual Concept

The serial façade

From the serial façade of the existing architecture we derive intersections, an entire network of intersections, which we now start to play with:

In the beginning there is the point

The point of light. Then it becomes several points of light, which form a line when they are observed. At first, one line, then several lines that form a surface, a shell, a dynamic strip. That then transforms into the Möbius strip – a wondrous two-dimensional structure that has just one edge and one surface and in which we are consequently unable to differentiate between the inside and the outside.

The wave

That then becomes the wave, as a symbol of vitality and change. A wave that almost lovingly winds around the – far too strictly and geometrically organized – building, indeed »touches« it lovingly. Then various wave shapes grow out of the wave, the pulsating sine waves – as a symbol of the pulse beat of life, quite simply THE »proof of life«. Plastic, almost trivial symbolism that everyone knows from countless film motifs. The heartbeat.

The helix

Eventually, the wave forms, Möbius strips and light lines overlap to create a helix, a double helix. It reminds us of the human lifeline – the DNA.

The Basic Theme – The DNA

DNA is a biomolecule

DNA is a biomolecule and carries genetic information, i.e. genes. The shape of the DNA – the double helix – inspired the outward appearance of our »DNA for Das Lebendinge Haus (The Living House)«. We see our DNA as »immaterial architecture«, as the energetic backbone for a building that first of all stands on inauspicious, historically charged soil and that was unable to gain momentum in its further development, and that ultimately had to experience many years of vacancy.


This project, therefore, is in the truest sense of the word a »revitalization« – and DNA plays a significant role in that. In epigenetics we recognize – in contrast to conventional teachings on genetics – that it does indeed depend on the individual and their environment as to which characteristics embedded in their DNA will become pronounced and developed – and which will be shut down, so to speak. Hence, as living beings, we are not genetically (pre-)determined, we are not at the mercy of our genes.

Our stem cells

Our stem cells preserve a certain flexibility ... Meaning that the nucleus can actually influence the DNA lying within it.

We have interpreted this recent scientific insight within the field of genetics as a life-affirming fundamental motif for our Living House.

Sound As An Information Carrier

Sounds from another dimension

While the visual structure of DNA appears to be very clear, clean and pure thanks to the geometry of luminous glass rods, the accompanying sounds we hear develop a counterpoint: often an indistinct, dirty, noisy sound aesthetic emerges in the space – sounds that are alien, seem mystical, as if they were from another dimension. Sometimes the artistic sound also combines with the pre-existing, everyday noises here in Dresden; the two become one, they blend together. Sometimes, however, the artwork also forms a sharp contrast to the everyday sounds that surround it. In one case harmony, in one case dissonance.

Original sounds

These man-made sounds originate on the one hand from the space itself (e.g. recordings in the staircase), on the other from an extended, sacred context (e.g. motets that used to be sung in the Sophienkirche at precisely this location). The original sounds were consolidated and transformed by a digital »space-time machine«. These abstract sound landscapes are then projected back into the real space via the glass DNA structure, where they reflect on the walls – on the actually built space. This interaction between real space and imaginative space constitutes an important level of the artwork.

The Aesthetics Of Slowness

The aesthetics of slowness

Both inside and outside, the DNA is experienced as a creative design element that gives this building a very stand-alone character. The lights, colours, sounds and oscillations wind over 150 metres through staircases, entrances, thoroughfares, out to the terrace and the façade. The changes in the DNA deliberately teeter at the threshold of perception.

Fine nuances

This artwork is not a »shouting« action, not a sensational performance that is like a punch in the face, but rather a subtle, sensitive intervention in the middle of the everyday space of the building. The aesthetics are borne by fine nuances, almost endlessly slow change processes and by a spatial depth, complexity: the sounds are mostly restrained, delicate sound-colour compositions, softly oscillating, floating, vibrating air.

The SensorySpace As A New Sanctuary

A deeper quality

Through these aesthetics of slowness, the hurried passer-by defies the deeper significance of this art in such a staircase. It is almost as though these sounds, lights, colours and oscillations deliberately wanted to »force« us to pause for a moment. I.e. stand still and yet be en route at the same time. Because only then does the actual, deeper quality present itself; that which lies behind this spatial installation:

The immaterial value

In the middle of our everyday lives, we seem to recognize a highly complex and simultaneously secretive structure of sensory impressions in the background of being. Sounds, lights, colours and oscillations that open new connection channels between the ages in individuals themselves. The immaterial value that this evokes in the individual is the true value of this art. In this sense we can speak here of a new kind of »SacredSpace«.

The Sense of such SensorySpaces

SensorySpaces by SHA.

SensorySpaces by SHA. let you immerse yourself in a new perception of time and space. They give you a feeling of »deceleration and dissolution«. They achieve this thanks to their special, holistic aesthetics – thanks to a spatial design for all senses and with all senses. SHA. calls that HOLISTIC DESIGN.

People and their surroundings

The aim of these SensorySpaces is to strengthen the connection between people and their surroundings. SHA. wants to strengthen the resonance between the self and the world, people and space, inside and outside, ultimately the material and the immaterial. As a result, you expand your own, individual horizon of perception.