If you’re getting a little dizzy from Imperial-this, Habsburg-that, then take a short trip out to the Hundertwasserhaus for a little cranial re-tuning.
- Fascinating apartment house in typical Hundertwasser design and colours
- You can’t go inside
- Small mall opposite is a Hundertwasser design, too, and full of souvenir shops
- See also: Artists in Vienna | Hundertwasser Museum
The Hundertwasser House
Forget straight lines and rectangular conformity. The Hundertwasserhaus forms a mosaic of shapes, colours and pillars in the typical fashion associated with artist, Friedensreich Hundertwasser.
The design comes as no surprise, given Hundertwasser (together with architect Joseph Krawina) was the creative brain behind what has become one of Vienna’s most-visited attractions.
The house was Hundertwasser’s first architectural work, though numerous followed…including an incinerator. Completed in 1985 at a cost of over €7 million, this apartment block is owned by the city of Vienna and rented out to individuals just like any other public housing project.
But this is no ordinary building, as a look at the photos reveals.
The floors are uneven. Vegetation carpets the roof (900 tonnes of earth were used in constructing the terraces). And plants (Hundertwasser’s “tree tenants”) appear all over the place, often where you’d least expect them.
The collage of colors isn’t quite as striking as in years past – time has dampened the Hundertwasserhaus’s bright colours and turned the white into more of a light grey. Nevertheless, the whole construction remains a colourful antidote to modern architectural practice.
You can’t go inside, as real people live there, but it’s free (of course) to wander around the outside. There’s also a terrace café.
If you crave a closer look at the architectural concepts, then pop into the Hundertwasser Village opposite. This is a small, mall-like construction completed in 1991 with the usual Hundertwasser flair under the great man’s guidance.
Inside the village, various small shops and snack outlets surround a central bar, spilling out into the street. Quite what Hundertwasser would think of it all now, I don’t know, given that many of these shops are fairly run-of-the-mill souvenir stores.
Another alternative for a closer look at Hundertwasser’s architectural vision is the Kunst Haus Wien building, designed by himself and home to a museum dedicated to his work.
How to get to the Hundertwasserhaus
In keeping with the counter-convention of the house, it’s not located in any of the usual tourist areas. But it’s still only a couple of minutes from the centre.
Subway: there is no station immediately nearby, but the U3 stations Wien Mitte-Landstraße and Rochusgasse are a short walk away. Wien Mitte-Landstraße is also a stop on the U4
Tram/bus: simply catch tram line 1 to Hetzgasse, which is just a few metres from Hundertwasserhaus
Address: Kegelgasse 34-38 / Löwengasse 41-43, 1030 Vienna