Kunsthaus Graz is a modern art museum located on the west bank of the River Mur in the historic centre of Graz, Austria. It was designed and built as part of the 2003 European Capital of Culture celebrations and has since become a city landmark, popularly known as the 'Friendly Alien'.
Its design was a collaboration between two professors from the Bartlett School of Architecture, Colin Fournier and Peter Cook, formerly the leader of the Archigram group that acquired a reputation for unusual urban design concepts in the 1960s.
The designers adopted an innovative style known as blobitecture or 'blob architecture' to create the building's organic, amoeba-shaped form with 'spouts' projecting from the roof, that stands out in stark contrast to its more traditional surroundings. The glazed outer skin is constructed from 1,288 iridescent blue acrylic panels.
The skin generates energy through the use of integrated photovoltaic panels as a result of which, its environmental impact is very low. The skin also forms a 'BIX Façade' screen, capable of displaying interactive media using the 900 computer-controlled fluorescent lamps fitted beneath the surface.
See more from the Unusual Building Design of the Week series.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Architectural styles.
- Building of the week series.
- Centro Eventi Multifunzionale, Italy.
- Dali Theatre and Museum.
- Dancing House, Prague.
- Gentle Genius.
- Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao.
- Habitat 67.
- Lotus Temple.
- Luxor Las Vegas.
- Rose Museum.
- St. Basil's Cathedral.
- Sage Gateshead.
- Switch House, Tate Modern.
- Tallest buildings in the world.
- The Gherkin.
- The Mile.
- The Oculus.
- Titanic Belfast.
- Unusual building design of the week.
- Zenith de Strasbourg.
 External references
- Museum Joanneum - Official site
Featured articles and news
Brandenburg Gate - an historic structure that went from symbolising German partition to European unity.
A discussion between construction key players and leading insurers on the future outlook for construction insurance.
New guide from BSRIA on building performance evaluation in domestic buildings.
Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners complete new trio of towers at Sydney Harbour.
With a new government consultation underway, ICE look at creating a smarter, more flexible energy system.
International Ethics Standards Coalition publishes first set of ethics principles for built environment professionals.
British Antarctic Survey announces research station is to relocate 23km due to growing crack in the ice shelf.
A great example of mimetic architecture with the Fish Building of India.
Could e-bikes be a solution to congested and polluted urban centres?
Government publishes details of £500bn investment pipeline in infrastructure, described as the 'most comprehensive ever'.
Top of new skyscraper trimmed down by 30m to avoid interfering with City Airport flights.