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Monday, August 15, 2011

Kunsthaus Graz, Graz, Austria

Kunsthaus Graz, Graz, Austria
Completed in 2003 the Kunsthaus Graz is a strange and yet very striking building. Affectionately dubbed the "Friendly Alien" by its creators its amoebic like form is a perfect example of what is sometimes termed "blob architecture" or "Blobitecture". The building was designed by architects Peter Cook and Colin Fournier and they had more up their sleeve than just the creativity of the building's organic form when they formulated their plans. The entire eastern side of the building forms a high tech visual ...


Lendkai 1, 8020 Graz, Austria

47° 4'17.25"N 15°26'2.71"E

No Google Maps "Street View" Available - Not Included In Google Earth Tour

... display that faces the Mur River and the city center; the BIX Media Facade is a stunning fusion of architecture and the latest media technology.

Since 1985 the European Union has designated cities in member states "European Capitals Of Culture". The program was created to:
  • highlight the richness and diversity of European cultures
  • celebrate the cultural ties that link Europeans together
  • bring people from different European countries into contact with each other's culture and promote mutual understanding
  • foster a feeling of European citizenship.
In 2003 the European Capital of Culture was Graz, Austria. Kunsthaus Graz was constructed as a part of the celebrations and exhibitions that went along with the yearlong celebration of European Culture. I think that I for one would likely have thought Cook and Fournier somewhat crazy had I seen plans for the Kunsthaus Graz before it's construction. I simply could not have had the vision to realize that instead of looking ugly and out of place amongst the baroque red tile roofs of Graz the building actually manages to merge with and enhance the cityscape. It is probably that type of vision that separates the average architect from the truly extraordinary architect.

Graz Clock Tower
Kunsthaus Graz is built primarily of reinforced concrete and is covered in translucent warm-blue acrylic paneling with white plaster and metal mesh on the interior. There are 16 "nozzles" on the top of the building; one nozzle provides for smoke evacuation in case of fire, one offers a view of the original architectural icon of Graz, the Clock Tower [which is a truly remarkable piece of architecture in its own right - image source] and the rest provide for daylight and artificial light sources on the upper exhibition floors. Named for the combination of the words "Big" and "Pixels" the BIX Media Facade features 930 fluorescent rings that are embedded in the outer skin with the illumination level of each ring being variable from 0% to 100%. Operating as "pixels" they are controlled by a computer and are capable of displays as varied as the mind and imagination of those who get a chance to program them.

The Kunsthaus Gras is primarily an exhibition space but there are no permanent collections; instead the establishment aims to offer an ever changing array of exhibits of modern and contemporary art from the last 50 years or so.

There is no Google "Street View" but I did manage to snag a couple of nice screen shots from the "Bird's Eye" view in Bing Maps which are actually quite cool. On the video tab there are a couple of videos which show the BIX Media Facade in action; while I think the videos probably give a good idea of what the displays look like I think that to get a true feel for what the Kunsthaus Graz is all about you would need to visit in person; maybe one day. In the meantime I will conent myself with the videos and the excellent book "Peter Cook And Colin Fournier: Friendly Alien".

Kunsthaus Graz, Graz, AustriaClick For Image Source

Kunsthaus Graz, Austria - Night 1Click For Image Source

Kunsthaus Graz, Austria - Night 2Click For Image Source

Kunsthaus Graz, Austria - Interior 1Click For Image Source

Kunsthaus Graz, Austria - Interior 2Click For Image Source

Kunsthaus Graz, Austria - Night 3Click For Image Source

Kunsthaus Graz, Austria - DetailClick For Image Source

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