atelier le balto

Architectural intervention


Ex-Zollamt / Explosiv, Ex-Zollamt / Halle

Production specifics
Auftragswerk steirischer herbst

Projektsponsoren Gaulhofer Fenster und Türen, Industriellenvereinigung Steiermark & XAL

After the revolution comes reorientation, upheaval is followed by times in which future conditions are renegotiated. These are fragile moments that decide whether an agreement is reached and whether new orders come about. Until then, the outcome remains dangerously in the balance. The terrain is unclear and the exception is the rule. The steirischer herbst festival centre is also more a zone in motion than a rigid centre this year, flexibly adjoining Ex-Zollamt, the site of the former customs house in Bahnhofgürtel. An area, neither truly periphery nor centre, that reminds us of times when the globalisation of markets was not so limitless and circumstances more visibly limited.

The Explosiv youth cultural centre marks one side of the range of choices in this zone, with a night-spot, concerts and Sunday cinema. Ex-Zollamt marks another: the installation “Close Link” allows visitors to experience intimate, usually hidden relationship systems by using their senses, the herbst exhibition “Liquid Assets” artistically illuminates the opacities of global cash flows, while the great hall serves as a daytime café and herbst Bar, the scene of unpredictable “One Night Stands” and a Sunday crossing-point and meeting-place for alternative trade channels.

The landscape architects from atelier le balto, who designed the gardens of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris and the Berlin Kunst-Werke, have arranged a group of strangely floating houses over the whole area between Explosiv and Ex-Zollamt, over the courtyard and garden. At night they light up, reminiscent of fragile summer-houses or greenhouses, forging links to the history of the site and creating places that oscillate between inside and out, public and private, transparent and hidden.