Friedensreich Hundertwasser

Hundertwasser house in vienna austriaCatching a glimpse of this picture on Pinterest, I was immediately inspired to learn more about the building and artist who created it.  What a find to learn about architect -artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser and the Hundertwasser House in Vienna, Austria.

As a child Hundertwasser and his mother (who was Jewish) posed as Christians to avoid persecution in the time leading up to WW2.   As a result he later developed an anti-totalitarian position and art historians postulate that an early fear of square marching battalions may have led him to oppose any “geometrization” of people and their architecture.

I find this kind of influence on an artist fascinating.

underground highway
Some of his designs (like this one for an underground highway that’s aesthetically pleasing in addition to being quiet, maximizing land use, and providing trees to filter out noxious chemicals) are remarkably thoughtful and inventive in a modern context.

hundertwasser house plan

But what inspires me most about him is his environmental activism and creative conviction. His Mould Manifesto laid out two things:  “Your window right — your tree duty.”  He believed that planting trees in an urban environment was to become obligatory: “If man walks in nature’s midst, then he is nature’s guest and must learn to behave as a well-brought-up guest.”   The Window Right stated that : ‘A person in a rented apartment must be able to lean out of his window and scrape off the masonry within arm’s reach. And he must be allowed to take a long brush and paint everything outside within arm’s reach. So that it will be visible from afar to everyone in the street that someone lives there who is different from the imprisoned, enslaved, standardised man who lives next door.'”  (he is man after my own HOA-hatin heart)

I also find it both heartening and dis-heartening to realize that greener buildings, vertical gardens and vegitecture, and the ideas behind them are not all that new or trendy.  I sometimes have such optimism that as designers we are beginning to address environmental challenges, but then when I realize that colleagues from 40 or 50 years ago were also doing the same (in this case, planting trees in buildings!) I wonder if we are making actual progress or if it just feels like it?  What do you think?

- Rochelle

Images from wikipedia, Tinas blog, and exchange connect.

 

 

 

One Response to Friedensreich Hundertwasser

Things are Going To Be Messed Up

UPDATE: You can see it is taking shape — hope you like it so far….still working….but getting there!! A serious change up is in order around here and while it is happening, things are going to be a little off. I tend to do these things myself (I just like to have my fingers all…

A Tale of Improving Weather, Gardening and Anaphylactic Shock

A Tale of Improving Weather, Gardening and Anaphylactic Shock

The snow is piling up (over the windows at this point) and my cabin fever is turning into a strange and crazy thing. I think I might be developing photokeratitis. We’ve run out of firewood and the oversized roof-cicles are making me feel like I live in a cage. So it is no wonder that…

A Studio ‘g’ Holiday Shopping List

A Studio ‘g’ Holiday Shopping List

My wife asked me as we drove with our four kids from Maine to North Carolina, what I would like for Christmas. You know the feeling of not really wanting anything other than warmth, good company, good food, and a healthy, happy family. Well, I am having those feelings this holiday season but there are…

The Bittersweet Dilemma – Solved!

The Bittersweet Dilemma – Solved!

After years of yanking the pervasive (and invasive) red roots of bittersweet from my garden beds, I am highly paranoid about the re-introduction of this noxious weed. But I can’t deny that it is simply beautiful this time of year.  I’m constantly seeing it grace all sorts of stylish tables,  and long strands are regularly used…

There is no content to display.