Three decades ago, the love for art and the idea to present contemporary art in office buildings were the decisive reasons why Hans Peter Haselsteiner and Wilhelm Weiß took the then-unusual step of developing a company collection. In 1992, in the company magazine WIR, the first article appeared about the origins of today’s STRABAG Artcollection. At first, the focus was on art from the Austrian state of Carinthia, but the collection soon sought out contact with artists and galleries across Austria. With the announcement of the first art prize to support young Austrian artists in 1994, the collection’s spectrum expanded to include a diverse set of young artists. Until 2002, the prize was awarded in Klagenfurt, the capital of Carinthia; at this time, the collection grew to over one thousand works, enabled by the rapid development and expansion of the construction group.
The year 2004 was a milestone: STRABAG’s offices, previously dispersed across Vienna, were consolidated in the newly-built STRABAG building on the Donauplatte, and STRABAG Kunstforum moved from Carinthia to Vienna.
The Artlounge, a spacious, two-story gallery space, was opened on the upper floors of the new company headquarters, while the GIRONCOLI-Kristall, a structure attached to the main building, enabled the permanent exhibition of nine sculptures by Bruno Gironcoli.
The art prize was reorganized: since 2009, as the STRABAG Artaward International, it has also been open to artists from outside Austria. In the same year, the STRABAG Artstudio in the STRABAG building in Vienna was opened: an artist-in-residence program for all collection artists, as well as all prizewinners of the STRABAG Artaward Iinternational.
The STRABAG Kunstforum team is responsible for organizing exhibitions in the STRABAG Artlounge, to arrange the STRABAG Artaward International and to manage the STRABAG Artstudio. The team is also in charge of maintaining and developing the collection, which now contains around three thousand works, including documentation, loans, exhibition and outreach.