‘Alien’ Art Museum in Graz, Austria

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.

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Known to locals as the “Friendly Alien,” the blob-shaped structure contains contemporary art, design, new media, film and photography.

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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.

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Measuring 27,000 square foot (2,508 square meters), this massive building was designed for showcasing contemporary art exhibitions, new media displays and hosting events.

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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”).

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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.

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While the glazed outer skin takes an important mediating role, it also generates power through integrated photovoltaic units.

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