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Say Hello to Graz's Friendly Alien

Graz locals called it "the friendly alien," the unusual building that revived an entire neighborhood. The truly singular Kunsthaus hosts contemporary art exhibitions, a café and media lounge -- and happens to afford one of the best views of the old city. 

Kunsthaus Exterior © Graz Tourismus
Kunsthaus Exterior © Graz Tourismus
Kunsthaus Graz © Kunsthaus Graz
Kunsthaus Graz © Kunsthaus Graz
Kunsthaus Exterior © Graz Tourismus
Kunsthaus Exterior © Graz Tourismus

It began with the city of Graz's need for a contemporary art exhibition space, suitable for a future European Cultural Capital. The right bank of the river Mur, then a neglected part of town, seemed a good location, and the old cast-iron Eisernes Haus an ideal starting point.

British architects Peter Cook and Colin Fournier proceeded to create something nobody could've imagined: a wild, biomorphic structure that somehow contrasts and mirrors the gabled houses all around. Locals dubbed it the "friendly alien," thanks to its unusual shape and the 1,066 acrylic glass elements that form its skin. With innovative exhibitions drawing crowds by day, and lively cafes and events attracting visitors at night, the Kunsthaus Graz isn't just a first-rate architectural and cultural destination – it brought an entire neighborhood back to life.

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