The Kunsthaus has been called a baby hippo, sea slug, porcupine, whale and a "Friendly Alien" - this last name having been coined by Colin Fournier, one of its two architects. For him, the Kunsthaus is a biomorphic, indefinable something, a hybrid, strange and familiar at the same time, with the "charm of a friendly mixed-breed stray dog, definitely highly questionable in terms of pedigree."

The Kunsthaus was built as part of the programme for the European Capital of Culture 2003 - a new architectural landmark in Graz that has come to be mentioned in the same breath as the city's iconic clocktower and the Schlossberg. Each year it attracts many thousands of visitors from all over the world, and has long since been absorbed into the urban identity of the city. Designed at the beginning of the millennium by architects Peter Cook and Colin Fournier, its unique shape and striking colour inspire and thrill those who encounter it. In the evening, the Kunsthaus communicates with its urban surroundings through the BIX media façade designed by realities:united.   

The building is situated in a less privileged district of the city, opposite the historic city centre. It was built on a vacant lot between Lendkai and Mariahilferstraße, directly adjoining the ‘Eiserne Haus’ (Iron House). Once a modern department store built by the architect Josef Benedikt Withalm from 1846–48, the building was gutted and linked to the Kunsthaus. The listed façade and its cast-iron structure on the upper storey were preserved. The arrival of the Kunsthaus Graz meant that the area around the Südtiroler Platz was upgraded and connected to the old town of Graz. Since then, many small shops and restaurants have been set up, and a creative scene is developing.

Exhibition Facilities

The very first considerations of the spatial programme at the Kunsthaus were already based on the idea of ​​"platforms" that should be flexible, adaptable and fluid. As with the design for the Monte Carlo Bâtiment Public of 1973, the first joint venture between Cook and Fournier, architecture was designed to extract specificity from various "events", a "feature-space", a space with special features, a platform for a wide range of activities.


As a transdisciplinary exhibition, action and mediation centre for contemporary art in all forms of media and with a total usable area of ​​11,100 m2, the Kunsthaus Graz has a differentiated spatial and functional programme. While the interior of the building as a "black box of hidden possibilities" (Colin Fournier) to encourage the curators to new uses of space, its outer skin is playable as a media façade. The Kunsthaus café, shop and underground parking with 146 parking spaces complete the offer for the visitors.

Architecture book Kunsthaus Graz

The book looks back at almost twenty years since its creation, unfolding kaleidoscopically and focusing primarily on the uses and usages of the Kunsthaus. 


Foyer & Outdoor Area

Even before you enter the Kunsthaus, you will come across art and design: the area in front of the building was designed by the Berlin office Topotek1, the ATM by Superflex. This continues  more...

The building

At the time of its development around the millennium, the architects and planners of the Kunsthaus were entering new territory in building technology. Clearly, this is a building that reflects the turn of an era: analogue and digital, visionary and down-to-earth. It is visibly a house at the turn of the century: analogous in its graphic development and digital, as far as its structural engineering is concerned.  more...


A total of 102 projects were submitted to the international competition. Nine of these were deemed worthy of award and from these one prizewinning project was chosen. On April 7th 2000, the jury voted unanimously for Peter Cook and Colin Fournier’s design.  more...

Design & Renderings

The genealogy of the project’s biomorphic form lies in its designers’ long standing fascination with the animal presence of architecture and in the checkered history of the competition for the Kunsthaus, which was originally intended to inhabit a large cavity within the Schloßberg, the hill standing in the centre of the city.  more...

Technical Information

Laying of the cornerstone February 28, 2002
Completion September 27, 2003 (opening event)  more...

Time Piece Graz

Max Neuhaus has given the Kunsthaus Graz its own voice. Daily from 08:50 to 21:50. 10 minutes before each full hour.  more...


Since its opening in 2003, the Kunsthaus Graz has presented and made possible many works by renowned artists.  more...

Kunsthaus Graz

Lendkai 1
8020 Graz, Österreich
T +43-316/8017-9200


Opening Hours

Tue-Sun, public holidays 10am - 6pm

Guided Tours
Please visit our calendar.
Guided tours on advance notice

Mon-Thurs 9am-12pm
Fri, Sat 9am-2am
Sun 9am - 8pm
T: +43-316/714 957


24th/25th December 2023