K4 Media Centre – Künstlerhaus

K4 Media Centre – Künstlerhaus

A proposed radical extension to Vienna’s historic cultural centre Künstlerhaus was designed to signal the capital’s modernity as well as to change the building into a dynamic digital and social space that connects with the next generation.

This ambitious proposal focused around the Vienna Künstlerhaus, a traditional cultural centre in a historic building on Karlsplatz – an intersection for the city’s main public transport and traffic routes and the location for many of the capital’s cultural and educational institutions.

The building houses a contemporary exhibition programme, an experimental theatre and an art house cinema, and the challenge was to create better connections between these diverse elements through an architectural intervention, taking into consideration how the next generation of digital users would interact with culture in the future.

Following numerous failed attempts over many decades to update this 19th-century institution, Veech partnered with the media and broadcast expert Franz Grabner to initiate an extensive feasibility study, and delivered a strategy for catapulting the Vienna Künstlerhaus into the 21st century.

It was conceived as an “urban public living room”, a platform operating at the convergence between art, culture, new media, broadcasting, education and business.

The team proposed to turn the institution into a new cultural media centre suitable for the rapidly changing demands of the 21st century by creating a programmable building. The main feature was a hydraulically-supported, moveable floor in a new cuboid, glazed atrium: a “mobile lounge” that would flexibly extend the volume of the existing space as and when an exhibition or event demanded by moving up and down like an elevator that could dock at each floor.

The design included a horizontal video surface on the bottom of the box, onto which digital content could be screened that mirrored the respective current use of the space. Introducing a new media centre within the 2500sqm underground levels would allow this content to be created and broadcast from the site globally, enabling 24-hour digital arts programming to take place and thereby increasing the visibility of the institution but also engaging with younger audiences and signalling a new chapter for the organisation.



Concept Model


Aerial View

Schematic Elevation


Cultural Department of City of Vienna, Vienna Holding GmbH, ORF – Austrian Broadcasting Corporation
Vienna, Austria
2004 - 2006
Design Team:
Stuart A. Veech, Mascha Veech-Kosmatschof, Peter Mitterer, Kolojan Erevinov
Franz Grabner, WerkraumWien Ingenieure, Prof. Tom Barker (Engineer), Research Studios - London, Dr. Manfred Gaulhofer (Financial Feasibility Study)
Model Photos:
©Markus Rössle