February 5, 2012

0115 AUSTRIA (Styria) - A friendly alien

Founded by Slavs sometime in the early Middle Ages, Graz undoubtedly owes its development to the Austrians, who had turned it since the 12th century into an important commercial center. Possessed the first of all by the house of Babenberg, the city was later taken over by the Habsburgs, who had turned it in residence of the Inner Austrian dukes, who ruled Styria, Carinthia, and parts of today's Italy and Slovenia (Carniola, Gorizia and Gradisca). With a strategic location at the head of the open and fertile Mur valley, Graz was often but unsuccessfully assaulted, printre alţii de Hungarians in 1481, and by the Ottoman Turks in 1529 and 1532. I will talk more about the city's history when I will receive a postcard with the historic center, added to the UNESCO list of World Cultural Heritage Sites in 1999.

The building from the picture, Kunsthaus Graz, was completed in 2003 (the year when Graz held the prestigious title of a Cultural Capital of Europe), and has since become an architectural landmark for the city, even if its innovative form differs radically from the surrounding baroque roof landscape. Its creators, the london-based architects Peter Cook and Colin Fournier, prominent figures of the blob architecture movement, have called the building "Friendly Alien", a very appropriate name for this organic-looking structure, with amoeba or blister-shaped, which almost seems alive when the 930 fluorescent rings, embedded in the 900 m2 outer acrylic glass skin, start to change their illumination level following the schemes coordinated by a central computer. Spectacular, no doubt.

Equally interesting is the fact that Graz Art Museum, hosted by the building, doesn't collect, maintains no permanent exhibitions, and no research establishments. Its exclusive purpose is to present and procure contemporary art productions.

The sender (many thanks, Andrea) was born on the same day as me (but not in same year), so that this postcard raises to 4 the number of those included in the label Received from those born on August 8.

Accidentally or not, the stamp shows also a modern building, Wien Westbahnhof (Wiena WestTrain Station), Austria's first train station complex began in 2008 while the train station remained fully operational. This special postmark, designed by S. Moucks, was issued on November 23, 2011.

sender: Andrea Goger (direct swap)
sent from Wiena (Austria), on 25.01.2012


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