If you’re getting dizzy from Imperial-this, Habsburg-that, then take a short trip out to the Hundertwasserhaus for some colourful recalibration.
- Fascinating apartment house in typical Hundertwasser design and colours, though you can’t go inside
- Small mall opposite is a Hundertwasser design, too, and full of souvenir shops
- See also: Artists in Vienna | Hundertwasser guide
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 and architect Joseph Krawina formed the creative brains behind what has become one of Vienna’s most-visited attractions.
The building was Hundertwasser’s first architectural work, completed in 1985 at a cost of over €7 million. The city of Vienna owns the house and rents out apartments to individuals just like with any other public housing project. Hundertwasser pursued various other building projects afterwards, including an iconic Viennese incinerator.
This is no ordinary house, of course, 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 or access the terrace café.
If you crave a closer look at the architectural concepts, then pop into the Hundertwasser Village opposite. This small, mall-like construction, completed in 1991, features the usual Hundertwasser flair thanks to 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 run-of-the-mill souvenir stores.
The Kunst Haus Wien offers another option should you wish a closer look at Hundertwasser’s architectural vision. He designed the building, which includes a museum dedicated to his work as well as temporary photo exhibitions and art installations.
Since you can go inside, the Kunst Haus Wien allows you to discover, for example, how those trees that grow out from the walls are anchored in the building’s design. They have a suitably iconoclastic café, too.
How to get to the Hundertwasserhaus
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