The residential building ‘Stadthaus Ballhausgasse’ fills a long-time void in the historic city centre of Graz, Austria. The design of the street facade interprets the principals of facade arrangement in the late 19th century using contemporary means. The characteristic plasticity provided by the play of light and shadow on the cornices, protruding windows and window surrounds as well as their arrangement will be achieved by the absorption and continuation of the cornices in the new façade. In this way a three-dimensional appearance in the form of slightly inclined triangular surfaces will emerge which will link the different cornice heights of the surrounding buildings. The smaller number of storeys compared to the late 19th century is thus less clearly recognizable. As is the case in the neighbouring facades, the windows are protruding or recessed elements independent of the facade level but whose symmetrical arrangement, large size and upright format continue the typical arrangement seen in the late 19th century. The result is a differentiated interaction between facade and window surfaces on several levels which reveal more and more new details from different perspectives. Being the representative view, the expenditure on the external facade reminiscent of the end of the 19th century was higher and the design of higher quality in comparison to the unadorned courtyard facade. The special feature of the context is that it is the only vacant site in a continuous, homogenous and unbroken row of houses. The interplay between integration and mere imitation will be explored by a new type of material in the form of mirror-finished, high-gloss polished stainless steel. Stainless steel is one of the highest quality materials of our times and has a subtle life of its own as it is not as perfectly smooth and hard as glass. Via reflection, the facade depicts the facades opposite, which appear refracted as in a kaleidoscope due to the slightly different inclination. In this way the new building has the paradoxical effect of having both a strong presence and of not being there.