Vienna is a city worth visiting over and over, whether you are spellbound by the grandiose nature of the tall buildings, the coffeehouses that serve delicious hazelnut chocolates to complement your morning drinks, or of course, if you’re interested in castles, for which the Hapsburg palaces provide an impressive insight into the city’s rich history as the seat of the Austro-Hungarian empire.
I was enchanted with the very cliches that Vienna has come to occupy in the minds of tourists and travelers during my first visit to the city. In between museums and weaving through alleyways to finding ourselves at Mozart’s house, on my second trip to Vienna, I came to see the city in a completely new light. The crux of the discovery, of course, was with Hundertwasser Haus.
Hundertwasser’s architectural wonders are unique in not only combining a Hansel and Gretel-esque depiction of what modern day accommodation can look like, but in a city which can sometimes be overwhelming, simply because of the multitude of directions you can go, Hundertwasser Haus provides an enchanting reprieve into the world of magic meets reality.
Located just a short tram and subway ride from the city center, the house is also easily accessible by foot, creating a distinctive juxtaposition to those around it, and easily viewable, hence. Of his own work, the architect Friednsreich Hundertwasser noted in 1986:
“Dieses Haus ist meine Seele!”
“This house is my soul!”
The house was built between 1983 and 1986, and is actually partly residential, with about 54 private apartments. It features uneven floors, a roof covered with earth and grass, and large trees growing from inside the rooms, with limbs extending from windows.
Hundertwasser was so pleased with his work that he took no payment for the design of the house, declaring that it was worth it, to prevent something ugly from going up in its place. Another fun factoid is that although Hundertwasser is credited as being a painter, it is this house, in the third district of Vienna, which has been considered one of his masterpieces. The artist was born in Vienna in 1928 and lived until 2000, in Vienna, New Zealand, Venice and Normandy. His international break-through came at the Biennale in Venice in 1962. Hundertwasser advocated a form of architecture which takes into account human needs and natural phenomena, which is clearly visible in this gorgeous gem of a house.
Here’s a collection of some details of the house itself, including the uneven floors, the tiled mosaics, and the fantastic pillars.
Enjoyed this post? Read about the time I almost got shot in the Austrian Alps in Innsbruck.