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Contemporary Art Museum

Peter Cook | Colin Fournier

Contemporary Art Museum
By Kress & Adams -

The Kunsthaus Graz is the contemporary art museum for the exhibitions promoted by the Joanneum Institute of Graz, Europe’s cultural capital in 2003. This spectacular project by Peter Cook and Colin Fournier was awarded by international competition and built despite restrictive regulations.
The building, named by its architects ”Friendly Alien”, is an example of innovative new architecture built in a historic fabric. The museum consists of the “Bubble”, with its large exhibition spaces, and the Eisernes Haus, a refurbished late 19th century building containing exhibition spaces for the Camera Austria photographic collections. It contains two major exhibition levels as well as two additional floors used as a children’s gallery and observation deck. Large access ramps lead to the exhibition levels while bridges connect the old and new parts.
The steel structure works under both bending and shell action. The primary structure comprises cross-sectional beams connected to a secondary triangular grid. The triangular geometry derives from the plexiglas panel sizes while the divisional grid supports every panel in six positions. The triangles are covered with composite infill panels. The pre-assembled “nozzles” on the roof are made of radial ribs and were lifted onto the polygonal openings of the skin. The whole structure is attached to the edge beam of the composite slab - made of a large steel grid bonded to a concrete structure - that forms the building’s first level. This floor slab has an air cavity for ventilation and technical equipment.
The external façade consists of about 1250 individually curved plexiglas panels fixed over the skin’s waterproofing membrane. The panels are mounted on six flexible point fixtures to compensate for building tolerances and allow flexure under extreme temperatures. The cavity between roof and external façade provides natural ventilation as well as housing for the BIX-Façade’s media equipment. A drainage gutter, hidden...

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