Mur River, Graz
Another piece of great architecture, this time a left-over from Graz's year as the Cultural Capital of Europe in 2003, is a curved metallic island from New York architect Vito Acconci. It was only meant to be a temporary piece, but proved so popular that it has remained, becoming the site of a chic cafe and a place for sun seekers to hang out during the summer. However, with the icy drafts blasting down across the freezing waters of the Mur it wasn't a place I was about to hang about in.
The Mur-Insel is a strange little structure in the middle of the Mur River.
It was designed by Vito Acconci specifically Graz's position as 2003 Cultral Capital of the European Union.
You can walk out onto it from either bank of the river. There is a small playground, an amphitheater and a cafe in there. We didn't eat at the cafe, but it was a cool little place with a futuristic flare to its design.
The web address that I included at the bottom of this page is pretty cool...if you go there and click on the links, you can watch a little panoramic video of different sights in Graz.
... because it has been created entirely by man (and it's no.1 attraction in Graz nowsadays, I believe) with steel, glass, rubber and asphalt material. Construction was finished in 2003 - placed in the middle of Mur river, engineered by Aconcci Studio and was one of key architectures for Capital of Culture project.
The 'island' is connected to both sides of the city centre by steel bridge and it cost nothing to walk through, but it may cost a little more to sit down at its fancy cafe. A terrace is used for events and upon it, stairs rise like in a theatre. Night brings interesting play of light, for that part of day island looks most inspirational (on a day time.... it looks too grey and artifical to its environment, and I can imagine one day river will be fed up with it when large floods overcome what has been placed as an obstacle in its ancient ways).
For architecture concept of the building check out also this web site:
Another strange, contemporary piece of architecture constructed for Graz's position as European Capital of Culture in 2003. The building sits in the middle of the Mur River right under the nose of the anciant Schlossberg, blending Graz's architectural past to its present day modernity.
The island, which is meant to resemble an open sheel is the work of New Yorker Vito Acconci. Originally the structure was intended as a temporary exhibition but is still here 5 years later and is proving a popular attration for visitors and locals alike.
The island is connected to both banks of the river by a pair of footbridges.
The openair part of the building is an amphitheatre while a cafe is located under the covered part as well as having a childrens playground located here.
The Mur is the rather small river running through Graz. Nevertheless it is good enough to divide the city in two quite different parts. On the left (eastern) banks is the historical centre with the Schlossberg while the right (western) part is less prestigious. There are many bridges over the river but since Graz was European Capital of Culture a few years ago both sides were connected by an entirely new thing which is both a bridge, a boat and an island swimming in the Mur and connected with both banks by bridges which follow the varying level of the water. It is quite a funny thing with a cafe inside the body of the island. There were lots of protests of the people when it was built but things have relaxed and I like it in some way.
2003 Graz was european capital of culture. On the occasion of this, they put up some new pieces of art all around the city. One of those is the Murinsel. It is located in the river Mur and is formed more or less like a shell. Two bridges connect it with both banks of the river. It is nicely illuminated in blue lights during the night. Outside is some kind of an amphitheater- very nice to take a sunbath there in the middle of the river. Inside is the Aiola Café-bar-club, it`s interieur reminds me a bit of a spaceship. Like with most of the other innovative art projects in Graz the public opinion in Styria about the Murinsel is very controversial. Personally- I like it.
Mur island is another new-aged top attraction of the city, situated in the middle of the river and connecting in some way historic centre of the city divide by the Mur. To tell the truth, I don't like much such an artificial object situated in the nature resort, but on the other hand, it looks very attractive especially under the lights.
Mur island houses an cafe-bar and huge terrace built in the shape of an semi-amphitheatre. It is good place for resting after strolling around, in particularly in the hot summer evenings because of the refreshing wind which constantly blows along the water-chanel.
Graz sits on the River Mur which cuts straight through the city on its journey south from the mountains in the north. Much of the city's best architecture adjoins, overlooks, or even sits in the river, which is fitting given how important the river has been to the city's history. From the many bridges that criss-cross the river, you can view much of the best of Graz, as well as look straight out into the countryside. The banks of the Mur are definitely some of the best streets in the city to wander down.
A very new landmark of the city is the island in the Mur, one of the main Architectural projects of the Cultural Capital year 2003. Desgned by New York artist Vito Acconci, the Murinsel resembles a giant open mussel, connecting the shores of the river by two walkways. Conceived as a meeting place for young and old, it holds a cafe, ampitheatre and playground.
As you cross the river you will clearly see it in the middle of the river, its really cool to see.
Another way to cross the Mur, and with a bar and outdoor stage (both sadly underused) and well worth a look at night when it is lit in blue. It was put up as part of the celebrations of Graz being European City of Culture in 2003, and was designed by Vito Acconci. It is supposed to be a half-open mussel - with the open part being an arena for cultural events and the closed part a café and bar.
One of the first things we saw in Graz, when crossing the river, was the Island in the Mur, the main architectural project from Graz's time as European Capital of Culture in 2003. It's a rather bizzare shaped construction, with a main central section, which contains a cafe/bar, playground and ampitheatre, joined to the banks of the river by two walkways. I'm not sure what it is supposed to represent but it is an impressive and eye-catching structure. The Island was designed by New York architect Vito Acconci.
You can see, how grey and misty the weather was. The photo was taken in the bridge over the Mura river. You can see some old houses alongside the bank of the river, and the castle at the top of the hill.
When strolling around the town, many interesting details can be noticed. See this beautiful wooden roof tower on the building acroos the bridge over Murnau river, right behind the Herrengasse street
I was not sure where to put this tip, since the Island in the Mur is a performance space, cafe, and landmark. When a city builds a futuristic public site, it usually is greeted with great enthusiasm and pride. This was certainly the case with Graz's Island in the River Mur, besides the Kunsthaus, the signature addition to the cityscape during the year as European Cultural Capital. When I visited Graz in June and November 2003, I found the island always teeming with visitors. The Island includes an open-air theatre, and inside the dome are a futuristic cafe and a playground for children. Based on the idea of Graz-born Robert Punkenhofer (Art & Idea) the American architect and artist Vito Acconci has in essence placed an artificial island in the Mur.
It is an expereince sitting in the island cafe, so close to the waters of the running river, with the hilly landscape and buildings of Graz all around you. The main question will be if people will continue to be drawn to the Island as the years go by. The caf? seems to draw a crowd of all ages, and in the evenings seems to have become quite the hangout for the young and trendy. My guess is that with such a unique structure smack dab in the middle of the city, and the river, people will continue to flock to this island for the new millenium.
Please see my travelogue for more pictures.
The Murinsel is one of the new sights at Graz. It is a island in the river which was designed by an architect from NY (don't know the name now). On the island you will find a really nice cafe. I like this one very much to go there on sundays. Unfortionately there are always many people - often you have to wait for a table....