CREATIVE thinking needs SPACE to act within.

Ruairí O'Brien - Art Works is the title of this website. The title is made up from a name, my own, the word art and the word works

The word „art“ is a word that is both humble and majestic, difficult to define, small and large, constantly changing in its form and never ending in its influence. The word „works“ implies tasks undertaken or projects and works in progress. It also means that art works, full stop. 

In my opinion working can also take on the form of playing. This is a subject that ancient thinkers often touched on, the idea that the highest level of existence can be reached through the act of playing pleases me. In this sense the act of playfulness should influence our everyday tasks as much as possible where possible. 

Each project or work published on this site tells a story. My "art works" can be seen as being "places" where I have been. I enjoy the freedom of movement between the arts, I allow, subjects and projects, methods and skills, to influence, inspire and to feed off each other. Is this transdisciplinary or interdisciplinary? 

Ruairí O'Brien - Architect, Lighting Designer, Artist

Born in Dublin / Ireland. Studied architecture and light at universities in London, Edinburgh and New York. O'Brien worked for offices in London, New York, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin and Dresden from 1989 until 1995. 

1995: Founding of “Ruairí O'Brien. Architecture. Light. Spatial Art.” 

2010: Founding of "Ruairí O'Brien Lighting Design”

2014: Founding of "Mobile School of Lighting Design" (MSLD).


Associate Professor for Visual Design

German University in Cairo - GUC - Architecture and Urban Planning Department - 2017

Visiting Professor for Architectural Lighting Design University of Wismar, Germany from 2001 until 2005. Founding member of the teaching team that initiated the international masters program in Architectural Lighting Design. Guided the program to full accreditation in 2005.

MSLD - Mobile School of Lighting Design - Workshops and lectures in lighting design, light and architecture - 2014

Regular university teaching contracts in Germany and abroad.

Membership of Professional associations

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) / Saxony Chamber of Architects (AKS) / Founding member and Vice-President of the Federation of International Lighting Designers (FILD) / Society of Light and Lighting (SLL) / Deutsche Lichttechnische Gesellschaft - German Society for Lighting Technology (LiTG).

Honorary societies

Baukultur e.V. (Federal Foundation for Building Culture in Germany) / Honorary Director of the micromuseum for Erich Kaestner and the House for contemporary literature in Dresden. President “Betonzeitschiene” e.V. (City heritage project and micromuseum for the Prefabricated concrete housing industry) 

"Betonzeitschiene" provided a platform in public space for open discussions with citizens about the revitalization from city wasteland, urban planning and the role contemporary architecture should play in everyday life.

Architecture and Urban planning (selection):

Architecture/ Urban design handbook - Lichtenrade, Berlin 2017

Lighting masterplan - Lichtenrade, Berlin 2017

Market Square Freiberg - lighting, fountains, seating, Town hall illumination. 2009

Affordable housing - House EVOLUCIO Dresden 2007

Hologram facade/ City tourist and exhibtion centre, Jena 2006

Betonzeitschiene - micromuseum for concrete housing and the destruction and rebirth of the city of Dresden - 2004

Erich Kaestner Museum - micromuseum - Dresden 1989

Exhibitions (selection):

"WinterSchau" Concept, curation and participation in the series of art and architecture exhibitions under the titel winter in the House of Architects in Dresden 2016, 2017

"Winterschau": "Architecture as thought in drawings and paintings": HAUS DER ARCHITEKTEN, Dresden 2016 (Joint exhibition with Prof. Niels Fritsche/ T.U. Dresden) 2016

"Light - drawings, paintings and objects": Gallery OBEN, Chemnitz 2015

"28 days Darkness" Light Sculpture, group exhibition - Tapetenwerk - Leipzig 2015

"SommerSchau": Concept, curation and participation in the series of art and photography exhibtions under the title "Summer Show" in the House of architects in Dresden. 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 201, 2016, 2017

„microTestament“: Paintings, Drawings and sculptures/installations, Blaue Fabrik, Dresden 2008

“Light and space II”: Paintings, Städtische Bibliothek, Dresden 2005

“Light and space I”: Paintings, Kulturrathaus, Dresden 2003

“Sweet Strangers“: Paintings, Kulturbrauerei, Berlin 1997

„Sweet Strangers“: Paintings, Kunsthalle, Dresden 1997

"Summer show": Drawings, British Royal Academy of Arts, London 1997

Awards and Prizes:

  • First Prize: MDR Bridge - City of Leipzig - Architectural Lighting design for a pedestrian and bycyle bridge in Leipzig 2015
  • 2. place: "Urban Art" Lighting installation „Gladbacher Tor", for the town of Viersen 2012
  • Special recognition: Seasonal/Winter Urban Lighting concept for the inner city area, Leipzig 2011
  • 2. Place: Urban Art and Communication Concept for the "Revolution way". A route that dipicated the key locations of the peaceful revolution in Dresden. 2011
  • First Prize: International Urban and architectural Competition for the “Meetingpoint Music Messiaen”.Görlitz / Zgorzelec Germany - Poland 2009
  • Special recognition prize “architektour 2009” Chamber of architects in Thuring for the „Stadtspeicher“ project and the Hologrammfassade, Markt 16 in Jena. 2009
  • First prize: City planning and lighting concept for the Market Square of the City of Freiberg, Saxony. Work executed included the development of 6 new lighting masts that could light the entire market square (140m x 70 m) in an evenly glare free light. The lighting masts also light the market square with coloured light reflections during the day. The sun interacts with glass elements intergrated in the upper part of the masts. In this way the lighting masts have a dual purpose. 1. Not only do they light the space at night and fullfill all technical functions requirecd but 2. They also provide the town dweller, the tourist and the child with an artistic "sun clock" lighting effect during the day. The lighting of the town hall, the historic fountain and the creatio of two new play fountains with urban seating were also part of the project. 2009
  • First prize: Revitalisation and architectural renovation of the "Markt 16" a hertitage protected building dating from the middel ages situated on the market square in Jena.The "High-Tech" holographic glass facade is a 16 m high "Light sculpture" that interacts with the natural sun and the movemnet of time. 2006
  • First prize: “Growth 01” Exhibition architecture / Lighting installtion for the Fürst-Pückler-Park and castle. Bad Muskau 2005
  • First prize: Architecture, Exhibition architecture and Lighting installation; for the war memorial and exhibition in Zeithain - Gedenkstätte Ehrenhain Zeithain - Stiftung Sächsische Gedenkstätten 2002
  • Financial support from the City "Art Commission" in Dresden for the Urban wasteland revitalisation project "open air museum project Betonzeitschiene®" and the Lighting installation  “schwarzrotgold01” as part of thethe  Dresden „Art in public space“ program, Dresden 2004
  • Exhibition architecture prize 2002: for the concept and execution of the Erich Kästner micromuseum®. in Dresden, Kulturstiftung HBS