The Kunsthaus is known as a baby hippo, sea slug, porcupine, whale and as a "Friendly Alien" - Colin Fournier, one of the two architects, gave the latter name. For him, the Kunsthaus is a biomorphous, 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 has been situated in a less privileged district of the city, opposite to 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. With the establishment of the Kunsthaus Graz, it was possible to upgrade the area around the Südtiroler Platz and connect it to the old town of Graz. Since then, many small shops and restaurants have settled, and a creative scene is developing.

Exhibition Facilities

Already the first considerations of the space program of the Kunsthaus are 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 be many activities.


As a transdisciplinary exhibition, action and mediation center 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 program. 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. Kunsthauscafé, shop and underground parking with 146 parking spaces complete the offer for the visitors.

Foyer alterations

Ground floor and forecourt

The Kunsthaus foyer should be more than just a place for information and buying admission tickets, publications and souvenirs. It could also be a place where you meet up with friends, relax, encounter artworks without having to pay, a place for activities aimed at everyone who enjoys art or is curious about the Kunsthaus.  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 - 5pm

Guided tours
Sun 2pm (EN), Sat 3:30pm (GER), Sun & public holidays 11am (GER), exceptions may apply. For specific dates, please visit our calendar. Guided tours also on advance notice.

Architecture Tour 
during exhibition free times only, Sun 2pm (EN), Tue-Sun & public holidays (GER) 11am, 2pm & 3:30pm or upon request

Mon-Thurs 9am-11pm
Fri-Sat 9am-1am
Sun 9am-8pm
T: +43-316/714 957


22nd April
10th June

5th March
24th/25th December