100 Drops of Water: Enlivening the Planet
Hundertwasser: An Obituary
I wake up every morning at nine and grab for the morning paper.
- Benjamin Franklin
Friedensreich Hundertwasser, 1928-2000
by Aidan Campbell
Shit turns into earth which is put on the roof
- from The Sacred Shit Manifesto
So wrote Friedrich Stowasser, better known as Hundertwasser (German: hundred water), in 1979. Born of a Jewish family in 1928, he survived the Second World War by hiding out in Vienna. After a long-standing career in avant-garde art, where he became more famous on the Continent rather than in Anglo-Saxon countries, he died on board the QE2 while sailing from his adopted New Zealand on a trip back to Europe. In 1968 he changed his given name to Friedensreich ("abundance of peace") , and since then added the words "Regentag (Rainy day) and "Dunkelbunt" ("Dark multi coloured') to his surname. He is buried in New Zealand, in his garden of the Happy Dead, under a tulip tree.
Apart from his enthusiasm for human fertiliser, Hundertwasser spent his whole career championing the curve of organic nature against the straight line. From the mid 70s, all his marvellous buildings - such as Hundertwasser House in Vienna (1985) and the hot springs village of Blumau in Styria (1990-97) - were ergonomically curved and ecologically integrated with humus toilets supplying compost to roof gardens. From engaging in performance art in favour of mass nudity in the 60s, Hundertwasser became more and more involved in ethnic issues in the 70s (especially after he moved to New Zealand in 1973, where he became involved with Maori culture). Unlike most environmentalists, however, Hundertwasser was a supporter of the Christian Democrats in Europe. His favourite politician was Margaret Thatcher.
Hundertwasser Haus: front and back views
Hundertwasser's art was incredibly inventive and provided the world with some of the best art and architecture in the last decades of the 20th century. It almost makes you hopeful for humanity.
The Paradise Destroyed by the Straight Line
by Friedensreich Hundertwasser
An ecologist without a conscience is doomed
The world has not improved.
Nevertheless, today, although
Yet there are still no lawns on the roofs,
What we lack is a peace treaty
We must restore to nature the territories
In 1952 I spoke of the civilisation of
The same year I used the term
In 1953 I realised that the straight line
But the straight line has become
The straight line is something cowardly
And that the line is the rotten foundation
Even if there are certain places where it is
The straight line is the only sterile line,
The straight line is the forbidden fruit.
The straight line is the curse of our civilisation.
Any design undertaken with the straight
Even creativity is prefabricated.
We have become impotent.
Rogner Bad Hotel and Spa
Thermal resort, Hotel Rogner, Bad Blumau, in the countryside south of Vienna
The extraordinary architecture of this 271-room Austrian spa hotel may appeal more to children than adults with its wavy lines, garish colours and randomly placed windows. However it is the perfect place for "taking the waters" in the form of thermal baths, mineral waters and cures. Designed by the "organic" architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser, parts of the hotel are underground, the floors are sometimes uneven and the roofs are covered in grass. Apart from its strange ethos, the rooms are spacious, with natural fabrics and unvarnished wood. Double rooms cost £75-115.
Source: Styria Hotels
This Building Is Not Wasted
But Will It Sell?
A Hundertwasser-styled shopping centre,
Building of Unknown Purpose
Source: a1-foundation.nl/hundertwasser.html; no trees on the roof! Maybe an office building?
For articles on poverty, social markets, superfluous children, isolation, modern mating difficulties, status, boasting, gender differences, patriarchy, capitalists, civility, groups,
racism, virtue, ethics, art, music, religion and crewing click the "Up" button below to take you to the
Index page for this Social/Cultural section.