The Austrian city of Graz has its own ultra-modern art museum. Designed by Sir Peter Cook and Colin Fournier, the brilliant Kunsthaus Graz is an architectural landmark in the city center, serving as a bridge between the historic and the modern. Known to locals as the “Friendly Alien,” the blob-shaped structure contains contemporary art, design, new media, film and photography. Although the building makes quite a statement, its environmental impact is very low, as the building's organic roof -- made from 1,288 semitransparent acrylic glass panels -- generates energy with built-in photovoltaic panels.
Located on the west bank of the River Mur in the historic center, the Graz Art Museum opened its doors back in 2003. Created as part of the European Capital of Culture celebrations, the one-of-a-kind building rapidly became a city landmark. Measuring 27,000 square foot, this massive building was designed for showcasing contemporary art exhibitions, new media displays and hosting events.
Far from your average “white cube” art gallery, the Kunsthaus Graz is covered by thousands of semitransparent acrylic glass panels that form a “BIX Façade” (a combination of the words “Big” and “pixels”). Designed by Berlin design firm realities:united, this oversize urban screen features light sources under its skin, which are computer controlled and are used for massive displays communicating with its environment. While the glazed outer skin takes an important mediating role, it also generates power through integrated photovoltaic units.
Photos by Eduardo Martinez, Nicolas Lackner, Christian Plach