When the Künstlerhaus in Graz was opened in 1952, it had already undergone many decades of project work. Concerning the town history, also its role within the town planning was of interest. Next to the actual site also other areas, for example in the vicinity of today’s opera (formerly city theater), were being discussed. Correspondent to the detailed planning of 1916, a complex cultural center with high relevance for the urban building was supposed to emerge in this area. However numerous delays finally led to the fact that—amidst the First World War—the designated funds for this project were lost as war bonds and it was not for many decades that the city received a Künstlerhaus. In his lecture, Josef Ploder, associate professor ret. at the department of art history at the University of Graz, pursues the architectural history of the Künstlerhaus as well as its precursive projects and the difficulties in town planning.
The steirischer herbst 2019, under the heading of “Grand Hotel Abyss“ deals with the reactions of intellectuals to the visibly rising dangers of fascism in the time just before World War II. The Künstlerhaus, which was built during the British occupation in 1952, and, commissioned by the federal state of Styria, was the first cultural building erected in Austria after World War II, takes the thematic focus of the exhibiting artists as a starting point to explore its own formation and architectural history as well as its exhibition history, thus extending the historical frame into the post-war period. For this purpose, the supporting program is made up of personalities from various disciplines who were invited to discuss from a variety of perspectives the founding and development of the Künstlerhaus up to its current form of a hall for art and media.
Associate Professor ret. Dr.phil. Josef Ploder (*1952 Perberdorf, lives in Graz) studied German philology, philosophy, and art history at the University of Graz, where he also worked from 1983 at the department of art history. His habilitation followed in 1996 on the topic “Heinrich von Geymüller and the Architectural Drawing. Oeuvre, Impact and Legacy of a Renaissance Researcher.” In his teaching research he focused on the history of architecture, architecture and its representation in the media, as well as photography and film. His article “Architecture that was (not) Built. Drafts for a Künstlerhaus in Graz and the Historical Dimensions of a town planning problem” was published in 1998 in the Historical Yearbook of the City of Graz, volume 27/28.