Although brought up in Vienna and an irregular resident here, it would only be fair to describe the artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser as a citizen of the world. Nevertheless, he left a significant mark on the city’s physical and cultural landscape.
Use the info below to find the main locations of interest if you wish to follow in the great man’s footsteps (with a location map at the end).
Hundertwasser: his work
Let’s begin with places to see the results of his creativity…
Kunst Haus Wien
You might expect me to lead with the Hundertwasserhaus (see below) but the Kunst Haus Wien is a better option for fans of Hundertwasser’s work.
Well, Hundertwasser designed (and founded) the institution, which houses the Hundertwasser Museum.
You have a double whammy of delights:
- First, the characteristic architecture, both inside and out, with its tree tenants, curved walls and floors
- Second, the museum, which chronicles Hundertwasser’s artistic evolution with the help of numerous works of art and installations
The in-house café offers something a little different to the more traditional Viennese establishments. Go to the toilet while there (trust me on this).
The Kunst Haus Wien also hosts, for example, regular photo exhibitions of particularly high quality. Recent solo exhibitions covered the likes of Susan Meiselas, Alec Soth, and Elfie Semotan.
Just a little way off the Kunst Haus Wien is the Donaukanal (Danube Canal), a channel of the Danube that runs through the city centre.
Landing stages dot the banks and Hundertwasser designed the one at Weißgerberlände 28. The walk alongside is the Hundertwasser Promenade.
The distinctive 1985 Hundertwasserhaus apartment block has become one of Vienna’s prime tourist attractions.
This is just another council house run by the municipal authorities…but only if you ignore the astonishing shapes, colours, and integrated vegetation.
A lot of tours stop off here, so expect crowds. You can’t actually go inside, but Hundertwasser also helped design the small mall (the Hundertwasser Village) opposite the house.
Hundertwasser redesigned the chimney and entire façade of the Spittelau municipal incinerator in the late 1980s. The facility continues to provide energy, heat and warm water to thousands of households in Vienna.
Some might argue the architectural impact exceeds even that of the more well-known Hundertwasserhaus. The golden ball near the top of the chimney has certainly become a distinctive city landmark.
A first tree went into the façade of the building at Alterbachstraße 11 in 1981 as part of Hundertwasser’s tree tenant initiative.
A plaque outside in German and English commemorates the event. The hornbeam tree you see now (at least when I last looked) replaced the original, which suffered damage during renovation work.
Hundertwasser: life & more
Vienna does not celebrate Hundertwasser in the same way it worships Klimt or Beethoven. But one or two landmarks exist related to his life and achievements.
A rather inoffensive house located at Obere Donaustraße 12 in the 2nd district (near the Augarten Park) provided a home for a young Hundertwasser.
A plaque outside the building (in German and English) explains how the Nazis forced Hundertwasser and his Jewish mother to move here in 1938. They both survived the war, though dozens of their relatives were murdered in concentration camps.
Hundertwasser apparently had a studio at the top of the Ankerhaus, a multi-functional building on Vienna’s famous Graben boulevard. Another great son of the city, Otto Wagner, designed the house itself, which dates back to the mid-1890s.
A small square in Vienna’s 15th district bears the name Friedensreich-Hundertwasser-Platz, though it lies somewhat away from usual tourist routes.
I’ll add more locations as I come across them…