100 Drops of Water: Enlivening the Planet


Hundertwasser: An Obituary

I wake up every morning at nine and grab for the morning paper.
Then I look at the obituary page. If my name is not on it, I get up.

- Benjamin Franklin

Friedensreich Hundertwasser, 1928-2000
Photo from Tourismusverband Uelzen

by Aidan Campbell

Shit turns into earth which is put on the roof
it becomes lawn, forest, garden
shit becomes gold.
The circle is closed,
there is no more waste
Shit is our soul

- 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.

Museum KunstHausWien

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
Source: www.hundertwasserhaus.at

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.

Source: music-lovers.co.il

The Paradise Destroyed by the Straight Line

by Friedensreich Hundertwasser

An ecologist without a conscience is doomed
to failure, and the same is true of an artist
who does not bow to the laws of nature.

The world has not improved.
The dangers felt have turned into reality.

Nevertheless, today, although
nothing has been done,
my longstanding warnings are at last
being taken seriously.

Yet there are still no lawns on the roofs,
no tree-tenants, no plant-driven water
purification plants, no humus toilets, no rights
to windows, no duties to the trees.
The essential reafforestation of the town
has not come about.

What we lack is a peace treaty
with nature.

We must restore to nature the territories
we have unlawfully taken from it.
Everything horizontal
under the sky belongs to nature.
Everything touched by the rays of the sun,
everywhere where the rain falls is nature's
sacred and inviolable property.
We men are merely nature's guests.

In 1952 I spoke of the civilisation of
make-believe, the one we must
shake off, myself, the first of all!
I spoke of columns of gray men on the march
toward sterility and self-destruction.

The same year I used the term
"transautomation" to show the way beyond
the rationalism of technocrats
toward a new creation
in harmony with the laws of nature.

In 1953 I realised that the straight line
leads to the downfall of mankind.

But the straight line has become
an absolute tyranny.

The straight line is something cowardly
drawn with a rule, without thought or feeling;
it is a line which does not exist in nature.

And that the line is the rotten foundation
of our doomed civilisation.

Even if there are certain places where it is
recognised that this line is rapidly leading to
perdition, its course continues to be plotted.

The straight line is the only sterile line,
the only line which does
not suit man as the image of God.

The straight line is the forbidden fruit.

The straight line is the curse of our civilisation.

Any design undertaken with the straight
line will be stillborn.
Today we are witnessing the triumph
of rationalist knowhow and yet,
at the same time, we find ourselves
confronted with emptiness.  An æsthetic void,
desert of uniformity, criminal sterility,
loss of creative power.

Even creativity is prefabricated.

We have become impotent.
We are no longer able to create.
That is our real illiteracy.

Source: music-lovers.co.il

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

Wien Wärmewerk

But Will It Sell?

A Hundertwasser-styled shopping centre,
the Hundertwasser Markthalle (market hall).

Building of Unknown Purpose

Source: a1-foundation.nl/hundertwasser.html; no trees on the roof!  Maybe an office building?

And Finally...

Winery Hundertwasser-Ausstellung

Source: idea-design.at/html/k4main.htm

See also:

bulletAt Play in the Streets of Vienna (on the first page in this section) - In keeping with his aversion to flat surfaces, terra cotta tile floors rise up and down, creating small hills that snap you into the realisation that, hey, you are walking through these rooms...
bulletTo Toil Et Art - In 1998 the Kawakawa Community Board was looking to upgrade 40-year-old toilet facilities in the central township, and Hundertwasser offered a solution from his design palate.  The finished product is a work of art, from the grass roof, to gold balls, ceramic tiles, bottle glass windows, mosaic tiling, copper handwork, cobblestone flooring, individual sculptures and a living tree integrated into the design structure...

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