Hundertwasser: Spirals, Turrets and Toilets

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Baku, May 8 (AZERTAC). Austrian Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928 – 2000) first became known as a painter, and later in life as an architect. His work is reminiscent of Gustav Klimt (1862–1918), but his designs are distinctive – brightly colored, uneven and imaginative. The spiral is one of his recurring motifs, and he disdains straight lines. He was mainly dismissed by critics and other architects. Nevertheless, the buildings he designed have become tourist attractions around the world. No trip to Vienna is complete without a visit to the Kunsthaus Wien.

Born Friedrich Stowasser, he repeatedly tweaked his name throughout his life. His complete name is Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser, translating roughly to Peace-kingdom Rainy-day Darkly-multicolored Hundred-water. Hundertwasser and his mother were Jewish, and to avoid suspicion during World War II, Hundertwasser joined the Hitler Youth. He attended a Montessori school in Vienna, and later studied at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. He traveled widely and learned to speak English, French, Italian, and some Japanese, Russian, Czech and Arabic. He married and divorced twice. There were two documentary films about Hundertwasser`s life in 1966 and 1972. He died aboard the Queen Elizabeth 2 and was buried under a tulip tree in New Zealand.

Hundertwasserturm Hundertwasser Tower - Abensberg, Germany

Throughout his life Hundertwasser was politically aware. He was a supporter of the Dalai Lama, and an environmental activist. He designed posters against nuclear energy, and promoting the protection of rain forests, saving the oceans and the whales. In 1972 he stated that it was a responsibility for everyone who lived in an urban environment to plant trees.

A low-income housing block he designed in Vienna called the Hundertwasserhaus exemplifies his architectural philosophy. There are trees growing out of the apartments, and its roof is covered with grass and trees. There are no straight lines – all the floors are irregular. His final project, completed five years after his death, was Die Grüne Zitadelle in Magdeburg, Germany.


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