December 2, 2020

Argos Graz: Zaha Hadid and the eyes of Argos

The phrase “to watch something with the eyes of Argos” is an expression known to people who have a passion for the classics. Classical fans will also know “Argos” himself – the many-eyed giant of Greek mythology. The star architect Zaha Hadid based her design for the new building in the Burggasse in the city of Graz. In Hadid’s case, the numerous eyes were interpreted as a type of modern “perforated facade”with numerous bay windows and balconies. These offer the residents of the serviced apartment building a comprehensive view across the city centre – a super-modern facade design.

Zaha Hadid successfully competed against ten renowned competitors with her design. The recognition of the Graz old town as a UNESCO World Heritage Site is widely understood as an obligation to preserve the cultural heritage of the buildings, and to incorporate contemporary buildings within a sensitive environment.

Sustainable steel design

The ARGOS reference project meets this objective: The modern facade with a two floor base zone, and the glazed “eyes” in the upper part adapts to the buildings in its environment, without overloading it.

The complex construction of the glazed bay windows and loggias was a major hurdle which had to be overcome; a “not very cheap game of patience”, as Dieter Johs, managing director of the building company WEGRAZ stated during the interview. But the result is very presentable: ARGOS is an exceptionally minimalistic, sustainable construction in steel, glass and glass reinforced plastic (GRP), which joins together in a flowing organic form.  Janisol Arte 2.0 – a product of the AluKönigStahl partner Jansen and the narrowest steel profile available on the market – enabled the ideas of Zaha Hadid to be implemented perfectly.

A boardinghouse with style

The boardinghouse has been accommodating guests as planned since summer 2019. Project developer WEGRAZ advertises with the slogan “all eyes on you” – as in the Greek saga, they don’t want to lose sight of their guests, or in other words, they want to read every wish from their eyes. The wishes of the architect Zaha Hadid who died in 2016, therefore became reality: The narrow window design only shows as a fine line against the large format glass.