The fabulous world of Friedensreich Stowasser – Hundertwasser

In Austria, in a small town in Styria, Bad Blumau, one can encounter an embodiment of architecture of Hundertwasser where the style of Gaudi, the colours of Matisse, Klee and Kandinsky are merged into one form that its creator defined as “vegetative architecture”. These are the same colours that can be found in Darmstadt, Waldspirale or the incinerator in Wien.

 

Friedensreich Hundertwasser (born Friedrich Stowasser) was an architect who, in particular between 1994 and 1998, built a microcosm of architectural style around the hot springs of Bad Blumau on whose entrance is written ” …. denn das Paradies ist um die Ecke” (Heaven is around the corner).

Friedensreich started his career as a painter and sculptor: “Painting is dreaming. When I paint, I dream.” He created works such as painted walls, windows that are carved out of their own world, columns covered with ceramics, bricks, and mosaics of different forms. Bold shapes that continued upstairs with trails of other mosaics, colours, columns as if born from the womb of the earth reaching to infinity, almost “to support the sky, as do the trees according to the American Indians.”

To emphasize his joy, he changed his name to Friedensreich Hundertwasser, which means “hundred waters of the Kingdom of Peace.” His dream was to create architecture that is one with nature and brimming with happiness. And his accomplishments reflect this sentiment: I am a world of shapes, colours and vegetation that becomes an integral part of this fabulous architecture. Indescribable. Nature and its relationship with the man was what was most important. Architecture was called “vegetative architecture” because, like a tree, it grows very slowly and quietly.

Lucien Kroll, one of the fathers of Sustainability, shared criticism of the Modern Movement of architecture which had neglected the best part of man: that linked to emotions, sensitivity, memory, and dreams. “Straight lines have no role in our lives” – thundered Friedensreich – nowadays we live in a chaos of straight lines, in a jungle of immoral straight lines. The level and the meter should be banned, they are the symbol of ignorance and the symptom of the disintegration of our civilization. “In fact, the walls are swaying, the roofs are sinuous, the colours are open and brave.”

Since there have been indoctrinated and standardised planners and architects, our homes have become sick. We do not get sick, our houses are already designed and built as sick houses. We tolerate thousands of these buildings, devoid of feeling and emotions, dictatorial, ruthless, aggressive, unholy, flat, sterile, unadorned, cold, unromantic, anonymous, the absolute vacuum. They give the illusion of functionality. They are so depressing that both locals and passers-by get sick.”

In Environmentalist Manifesto he speaks of “the King at home” and “right window”, i.e. the right of a person to recognize his own living space and to paint the walls around openings, with bright colours. “It’s your right to change your home according to your taste, outside the windows of your home, as far as your arm can reach” (1972).