The Friendly Alien
The “Friendly Alien” is one of the architectural landmarks of Graz. Designed by the world-famous architects Peter Cook and Colin Fournier, the Kunsthaus hovers elegantly and mysteriously over the right bank of the River Mur. The Kunsthaus Graz’s spectacular biomorphic shape makes it an unmissable icon of the city. Its intriguing exhibition spaces attract visitors from all over the world to view shows of Austrian and international contemporary art.
1,066 acrylic glass elements form the skin of the friendly alien. At night it sends light signals or written messages from its “BIX façade” to the other side of the river. It sucks daylight from the north through its “nozzles” on top. The “needle” is a glazed viewing platform, stretching over Eisernes Haus and Kunsthaus on the eastern façade. Inside the Eisernes Haus there is the museum shop, the Kunsthaus administration and Camera Austria – an institution which in exhibitions and the eponymous magazine has devoted itself to photography.
The BIX Façade of the museum (BIX, a name which consists of the words “Big” and “pixels”) is the acrylic glass skin of the eastern side of the building, which consists of 930 fluorescent lamps whose brightness can be individually adjusted.
Architecture, design, new media, internet art, film, and photography are united under one roof. Kunsthaus Graz was developed as an institution to stage international exhibitions of multidisciplinary, modern and contemporary art from the 1960s to the present day. It does not collect art, maintains no permanent exhibitions and does not have its own depot. Rather, its exclusive purpose is to present and procure contemporary art productions.