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Iconic shape of building relates with old city fabric: The Kunsthaus Garz - Essay Example

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The Kunsthaus Graz: A new stitch in an old city’s fabric The Kunsthaus Graz, Graz’s new and controversial exhibition space currently used as an arts and culture center focused on contemporary arts (Bogner, 11), has created an interesting tension in the city’s architectural aura…
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Iconic shape of building relates with old city fabric: The Kunsthaus Garz
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Download file to see previous pages In point of fact, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999. The Kunsthaus relates to the historical city fabric by contrasting with it entirely. For all the traditional architectural and design elements of the historic city there seems to be an architectural counterpoint put forth by the Kunsthaus Graz. The new building as it looks today is the result of a competition-winning design by a group called Spacelab. This modern and in many ways innovative museum was built in 2003, the year during which Graz was the EU’s official “Cultural Capital of Europe” (Stangl) because of its historical significance. In fact, it is well known that the inner city of Graz is one of the best preserved of the old cities in Europe. So, from its very inception the Kunsthaus Graz acted as a blatant counterpoint to the rest of the city’s cultural and historical presence. The Kunsthaus Graz is actually a compound consisting of several parts that are closely interwoven. Primarily, there is the prominent plastic bubble perched on a somewhat conventional steel frame. Slashing through the upper part of the eastern face of the bubble is the city-viewing platform, and on (under) this same side is the BIX media facade. This main complex is additionally linked to the Thienfield Palace, one of Austria’s first steel structures (Cook and Fournier, 3) and two further historical buildings. The blob of the main building surrounds and almost engulfs its venerable neighbors. This conglomeration of historical, historically innovative, and groundbreaking contemporary composes the museum compound and sets the stage for the concept of the exhibition space as well as the architecture. Cook and Fournier stated that, “the measured facades of the traditional Austrian buildings act as music bars upon which the new form is composed” (Cook and Fournier, 6). This image provides much insight into the imposing presence of the structure. Clearly it was not meant to fit into the surroundings, but it was composed with them in mind. The Kunsthaus Graz is full of such interesting contradictions. It is a starkly modern structure that hovers in the midst of a historical landmark. It is a museum that defies the museum tradition? it will not hold a permanent collection, but instead will be a forum for continually changing contemporary exhibitions. The BIX media facade, which is made up of just under a thousand light-rings is at once unprecedented and extremely low-tech. And yet, all of these contradictions are embraced with a post-modern grace. The acrylic paneling of the bubble that so much contrasts with the orange-red tiled roofs surrounding it at the same time celebrates them with its reflective surface. However, it does it on its own terms. Although the reflection may retain some traits of the original, like coloration, the rest such as shape and texture are notably distorted by the modern structure. The shiny acrylic texture and the bubbly biomorphic shape dominate. During the dark hours, the amorphous exhibition center takes on an entirely different persona, thanks to the BIX display. BIX is a combination of the words “big” and “pixel”. The “pixels” are actually just fluorescent light rings that can be individually controlled for intensity. This media allows artists and curators to enlist the building’s exterior as part of their exhibition. Moreover, it is not limited to displaying static ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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