This post explores the Hundertwasserhaus, one of Vienna’s most visited buildings and the life of its designer and creator, Friedensreich Hundertwasser.
If you have seen the photos on this blog or on my Instagram account, one thing is going to strike you right away. I like color. Well, I like color a lot!
Keeping that in mind, you can imagine how hard headed I got when I found pictures of a colorful apartment house while researching my trip to Vienna. The structure had a multi-color facade, shiny mosaics and fairy tale like balconies. I had to see it!
Months after that, I found myself outside of a Metro station in the Landstrabe District. I had no idea where to go. Let’s say this house is a little bit in the middle of nowhere. A kind local took pity on me and showed me what direction to take. After that, I was able to arrive using my map.
Finally, I was in front of that colorful place I wanted to see. Its official name is Hundertwasserhaus.
Hundertwasserhaus was built between 1983 and 1985 according to the ideas of Friedensreich Hundertwasser (hence the name) with architect Joseph Krawina as a co-author.
It features undulating floors, a roof covered with earth and grass, and large trees growing from inside the rooms. Within the house there are 53 apartments, four offices, 16 private terraces and three communal terraces, and a total of 250 trees and bushes. The Hundertwasser House is one of Vienna’s most visited buildings and has become part of Austria’s cultural heritage.
A visit to the house is short since only the exterior can be admired. The house is unique and whimsical. To me, it is a piece of art that deserves attention. But, the highlight of my visit was discovering the genius of Hundertwasswer. This guy was something else!
Hundertwasser was born as Friedrich Stowasser in Vienna (1928). Later, he changed his name to Friedensreich Hundertwasser. He is one of the 20th century’s most acclaimed international artists.
In the early 1950s, Hundertwasser dealt with architecture and pursued his goal of creating a more human architecture in harmony with nature. In his manifestos, essays and demonstrations, he expressed his rejection of rationalism, the geometric straight line, the grid system and the purely functional architecture.
From the 1980s on, he realized projects which triggered worldwide attention and provoked vivid discussions. He integrated the window right and the tree tenants, uneven floors, afforestation of the roofs and the spontaneous vegetation.
In his architectural efforts, he pursued diversity instead of monotony, replaced the grid system with an organic approach and implemented unregulated irregularities. In times of mediocrity and the soullessness of prefabrication, Hundertwasser endeavored to help human longing for variety and harmony with nature.
What fascinates me is how Hundertwasser principles go beyond architecture. He was basically saying human beings like change, color, variety, spontaneity, naturalness, fun, laugh and joy. He wanted to express all those things with what he knew to do best. His works call us to do the same (but using our own gifts and talents).
If you want to learn more about this artist, the Kunst Haus Wien, a museum dedicated to the life and legacy of Hundertwasser, is located only a few blocks away from the Hundertwasserhaus. The exterior is very attention-grabbing too.
Also, the Hundertwasser village (located in front of Hundertwasserhaus) was designed by the artist.
His other work in Vienna is a heating plant. We saw it when exiting Vienna towards the Czech Republic.
Fellow blogger Lorelei has written about Hundertwasser’s building in Abensberg, Germany. Read her story here.
A complete list of his buildings can be found in here.
Have you visited Hundertwasserhaus or another of his buildings?
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