1.         City of Graz – Historic Centre and Schloss Eggenberg (Austria) (C 931bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1999

Criteria  (ii)(iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/931/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/931/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

Joint UNESCO/ICOMOS mission from 25 to 27 February 2005.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Urban development pressures.

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/931/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2006

The 2005 UNESCO/ICOMOS monitoring mission had identified several problematic large-scale building projects in the core zone and the buffer zone. One of these was the construction project by Zaha Hadid at Kommod-Haus location, which had not been significantly altered by the investor despite requests from city authorities. While the city authorities appear willing to adapt to World Heritage Committee expectations, officials also acknowledge that the existing legal framework does not appear to provide adequate protection for the property. The extension of Thalia Theatre that was reviewed by the joint mission in February 2005, has been partly completed excepting the most problematic vertical extension including a hotel. The project thus continues to be under discussion.

In addition to the cases discussed by the 2005 mission, the construction project of the Department Store Kastner & Öhler located in the core zone has caused public concern. The project foresees a contemporary construction to replace the traditional store and enlarge its floor-space by adding one floor to the building. An international competition was held, and the winning project design has been criticised by NGOs and individuals as not having a suitable roofscape in the context of the World Heritage property. The city authorities of Graz informed the World Heritage Centre that the final decision on the construction is postponed until September 2006 in order to take into account the World Heritage Committee’s decision (at its 30th session). ICOMOS has retained reservations about the quality of the design proposed for the Kastner & Öhler Department Store, stating that although the process followed to secure a design for this extension has been credible and professional, the present scheme does not respect adequately the character of the town, or of the site on which it has been imposed.

The management plan is under preparation involving all stakeholders, and is expected to be completed in early 2007. In addition to the management plan, a master plan is under preparation, using a zoning scheme for the core and buffer zones to give planning reliability to owners and investors. However, the legal basis for such a master plan still needs to be created. The State Party informed that the Municipality of Graz confirmed the designation of two World Heritage site manager(s), one on the political, and one on the administrative level.

The legal prerequisites that led to the demolition of the Kommod-Haus were examined by the city authorities concluding that such an event is unlikely to occur again.

ICOMOS noted that the reports on local developments in Graz appear to have been produced without involvement of the national level authorities. It was further noted that the State Party and the local authorities have been going through a learning process in the last few years, confronted by some unfortunate projects and choices, and have been adjusting their process to meet higher standards and expectations. The city authorities show considerable commitment to comply with the World Heritage safeguarding needs of Graz, with the mission’s recommendations and the Committee’s requests. However, the main and underlying problem remains the lack of mechanisms to fully implement the legal provisions available to the local authorities, particularly in view of the priority given to investors’ rights and the economic influence that continue to threaten the protection of the World Heritage values of the property. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

N/A

Decision Adopted: 30 COM 7B.76

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 29 COM 7B.63, adopted at its 29th session (Durban, 2005),

3. Commends the local authorities for initiating preparation of a management plan and a master plan for the World Heritage property, thus taking into account the World Heritage status in the urban planning processes;

4. Notes with concern the potentially negative impact of the ongoing and new large-scale construction projects in the core and buffer zones of the World Heritage property on its outstanding universal value;

5. Encourages the authorities to reconsider the overall design, volume and roofscape of the construction project for the Department Store of Kastner & Öhler;

6. Requests the authorities to fully take into account the Vienna Memorandum on "World Heritage and Contemporary Architecture, Managing the Historic Urban Landscape" (2005) in the preparation of the World Heritage property's management plan;

7. Requests the State Party to provide an update report by 1 February 2007 for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 31st session in 2007.

Decision Adopted: 30 COM 8B.51

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-06/30.COM/8B and WHC-06/30.COM/INF.8B.1,

2. Defers the examination of the extension of the City of Graz - Historic Centre to include Schloss Eggenberg, Austria, on the World Heritage List to allow the State Party to improve the management system and relevant plans for the whole property in question and in order to reinforce the link between the Castle and the City.