Atelier Thomas Pucher

Atelier Thomas Pucher

Graz, AT


NIK - Office Building

The freestanding office building created for a top branding agency, NIK stands at the centre of a small, green square on the banks of the river Mur. Its form is sculptural in its simplicity: a stack of golden cubes. At the same time, the NIK is the culmination of a complex and meticulous design process responding to the site’s serious technical obstacles and intricate planning and financial considerations. 

The chief problem to overcome was how to increase the number of floors by 2.5 (a double-storey storage shed previously stood on the site), while keeping the new construction light enough to rest on the 1980s underground parking garage beneath. This was achieved by designing a consistently lightweight construction and also by using a complex distributor grid underneath, which invisibly spreads the concentrated loads of the steel frame girders over the garage’s supports.

Before the arrival of the car park and its 1980s redesign, the square next to the Mur river course was home to a boathouse dating back four centuries. While Nikolaiplatz’s architectural styles and usage changed over time, the plot’s dimensions remained constant. The new building is sized to fill this site to the last few centimetres, and also reacts precisely to its heterogeneous urban situation. On one side—towards Entenplatz—the NIK becomes a boundary of space that fits in with surrounding buildings, while on the other—facing Nikolaiplatz and the riverbank—it forms an independent sculptural entity.

In this way, the steel-framed structure with clear vertical alignments and plenty of glass mediates between a high-density urban environment and an open green space. Calm and reduced, yet coated with a playful sheen of gold, the chunky facade blocks are also put to good use on the inside as shelves and archives. The result is a construction that is solid, practical and inviting but at the same time manages to be aesthetically and literally light.

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Status: Built
Location: Graz, AT
Firm Role: Architect
Additional Credits: In collaboration with BRAMBERGER architects