Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Kunsthaus Graz

Peter Cook and Colin Fournier


This piece of “blobitecture” - to use the vernacular for free form architecture created solely or mostly with computer programming - sits in the historic section of Graz, Germany, near the Clock Tower of the Schlossberg. The Kunsthaus' Amoeba like form flows around its historical partner. Most importantly to this journal, it has a metamodern presence, like a time machine with a broken “flux capacitor” oscillating between and among past, present and future.

“With respect both to urban planning and to its purpose, the Kunsthaus functions as a bridgehead at a point where the past and the future meet.” *2

This museum is all over the place - a simplified statement about its complex program! While It meets the most demanding requirements for contemporary art exhibition spaces it also accomplishes much more. It manages to be integrated with the historical past of its surroundings despite the unusual design, and is connected directly to the oldest cast-iron building in Europe, the historical monument Elsernes Haus. The amazing exterior wall is like a chameleon’s skin. Not only does it change color, it is capable of direct visual communication with it’s urban environment using a system developed by “realities limited” called BIX. The system is capable of displaying type and moving images. The museum manages to meet, complete and go beyond the old “Modern” saw, “form follows function” better than any contemporary art museum out there. I’d make an expensive trip just to visit this structure and its immediate environment. I want more!

The alter ego chimes in with, “Such an emotional response, John!”

“Yes, I know. I should attempt to remain objective, but - admitting my own parochial past - this is my first look at Twenty-first Century architecture beyond our own borders. The fact that this building was in the planning stages back in the 1990’s and completed in 2003 is amazing!” In fact, I’m surprised that Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin Van den Akker didn't site this structure when discussing their ideation about the Metamodern because it is such a wonderful example of a three dimensional model of metaxis. See the reductive model From this journal, June 2nd, 2011.

The Architects

Professor Sir Peter Cook is founder of Archigram created in the 1960's to be an avant-garde architectural group with a futurist concentration. Colin Fournier is a professor of Architecture and Urbanism at the Bartlett School of Architecture, part of the University College of London.


* "Kunsthaus Graz" in UrbARama: Atlas of Architecture, http://en.urbarama.com/project/kunsthaus-graz, contributed by dpr_Barcelona, April 20, 2009, Viewed 10:00 AM EDT, Sunday, July 24, 2011. It is thought that one time use of an image for intellectual purpose is acceptable within United States copyright law.

*2 Kiser, Kirsten, “Spacelab Cook-Fournier Kunsthaus Graz,” in arcspace, http://www.arcspace.com/architects/cook/. Posted January 12, 2004, viewed 9:20 AM EDT, Saturday, July 23, 2011.

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