Graz . 2003


Culture and education

Refurbishment and extension
Heritage city palais

Refurbishment and extension
Heritage city palais

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In 2000, the Graz city council held a competition for designs for a literature house that fit the context of the existing "Kulturhaus", a palace constructed in the 19th century. The "Kulturhaus" has an L-shaped floor plan, and the longer wing is located on a wide, busy street, while the shorter wing extends into a side lane. In view of this urban planning situation, the development plans for the courtyard were modified so that both the existing and the slightly sunken, park-like garden located south of the palace could be maintained without further development. The new construction consists of two yellow-pigmented, fair-faced concrete objects: a shallow cube, which brings the ground plan of the object in which the existing office and library building are housed up to the height of the entrance floor (as a unit, forming a rectangle in the ground plan), and the event room, the southern façade of which opens out onto a somewhat more deeply sunken area – with reference to the garden – that has built-in sitting steps. A narrower, two-story cuboid structure narrows the “L” of the object to a slender gap, in which a glass elevator will be positioned to form a “U” shape and allow access to a café on the lower level and the archive on the upper level. A high-quality terrace is created on the roof of the building. Due to the precise positioning of the two new structures, the homogeneity of their materials and colour and the various differences in the levels and reference surfaces, a careful balance has been achieved against the urban backdrop that reflects the specific relationship between the city and literature – a relationship that is based on the clash of extremely different components, which taken together create a surprising, vital single entity.
Text: Eva Guttmann (shortened and edited)

Facts and Figures

Project Location

Graz, Austria


Competition _ 2000 – 1st prize
Planning started _ 2000
Completion _ 2002 - 2003

Data on construction

Cubature new building _ 3.600 m³
Site area _ 2705 m²
Gross floor area existing building _ 2.800 m²
Net floor area existing building _ 2.200 m²
Gross floor area new building _ 790 m²
Net floor area new building _ 620 m²


Municipality of Graz - Construction Department


Paul Ott, Park Sung Jin