A house-celebration, a work of art in itself, and the most unusual residential building in Vienna, - this is the Hundertwasser House.
This hidden gem of Vienna is not located in the historical center of the city and is usually not part of tourist routes.
But if you, like me, love unusual and quirky attractions, I highly recommend visiting the Hundertwasser house.
In this blog post: Who is Hundertwasser? What is unique about Hundertwasser’s house and museum? How to get there? And more!
Unique place in Vienna: Hundertwasser House
Who is Hundertwasser?
Here are a few facts about Hundertwasser to understand the context and history behind this unusual building.
Hundertwasser's real name is Friedrich Stowasser. He was born in Vienna in 1928.
Being half Jewish, the future genius of painting and architecture could not survive until adulthood. To save Friedrich from Nazi persecution, his mother, a Jew herself, decided to baptize her son as a Catholic.
Friedrich's unique talent manifested itself already in 5 years. His first pencil drawing dates back to 1943.
Stowasser changed his name in 1949.
He formed his pseudonym by translating into German the first part of his last name, which is similar to the Slavic word “Sto” (100, one hundred) into “Hundert.” He decided to leave the second part of “wasser” - “water” because he loved water as an element.
He changed his name several times staying at the end with the version "Friedensreich".
Hundertwasser drew a lot of architecture and later became an architect himself.
In architecture, he was considered a rebel.
His vision of architecture is free architecture for everyone without standards, specifications, and straight lines. He believed that everyone should have the opportunity to create their own little paradise on earth.
He realized his vision in the design of many unusual buildings that became works of art.
An interesting fact about Hundertwasser: he always wore different socks. When people asked him: “Why do you wear different socks?”, he always answered: “Why do you wear the same socks?!”
It is a great example of the rebellious character of Hundertwasser and his desire to question everything. During all his life he did not accept the imposed norms.
What is unusual about the Hundertwasser House?
Hundertwasser House (in German Hundertwasserhaus) is Vienna's architectural highlight.
It looks like a bizarre picture that comes to life before your eyes.
It is not a museum. There are no exhibits inside, no galleries, no famous historical figures lived here.
It is an ordinary apartment building built in 1983-1985, and ordinary Austrians live there.
But the way it was built is extraordinary.
Hundertwasser endowed his project with bold colors, cool patterns and included natural objects in the architecture. Trees grow right in the apartments, and the roof of the house is covered with grass and bushes.
The style can be described as "hilly floors and a riot of colors and vegetation."
There are no straight angles in the Hundertwasser house. The corridors and stairs are uneven and are sloped like paths in the forest. The windows are of different sizes and are arranged randomly while creating a unique harmonious ensemble.
The essence of Hundertwasser philosophy in architecture:
- Lack of straight lines and sharp corners
Here is what Hundertwasser says about this:
"The straight lines and uniformity of Bauhaus architecture are coming to an end because they are unfeeling, sterile, cold, heartless, aggressive, and unemotional.
The era of absolute rationalism is coming to an end.
The new values are a higher quality rather than a higher standard of living, yearning for romanticism, individuality, creativity, especially creativity and a life in harmony with nature."
- Connection with nature and environmental friendliness
“Without an environment suitable for man, and without peace with nature, an existence worthy of man is impossible.
These peace negotiations with nature should begin soon, or it will be too late.
This house is conceived as the first step to a conversation with nature, in which we and nature are equal partners; one cannot beat the other. ”
- The right to individuality and creative expression
"The man has three skins. His own, his clothes, and his dwelling.
All these three skins must renew themselves, continually grow and change. When, however, the third skin, i.e. the outer wall of his house, does not change and grow like the first skin it petrifies and dies.
A person in a rented apartment should be able to lean out of the window and scrape off the masonry as far as it reaches.
He should be allowed to take a long brush and draw something on the facade so that it could be seen from afar from the street.
So that passers-by understand that outside the window does not live an ordinary person, but different from their captives, enslaved and standardized neighbors".
You can read more about the philosophy of Hundertwasser on this site where his speeches are collected.
Video: 10 unusual Hundertwasser Houses
The Hundertwasser House in Vienna is not his only creation.
Here are the most beautiful buildings designed by Hundertwasser in other cities:
- Ronald McDonald Haus, Essen, Germany
- Hundertwasserhaus, Plochingen, Germany
- Hundertwasserkirche, Baernbach, Austria
- KunstHausAbensberg, Bavaria, Germany
- Grüne Zitadelle, Magdeburg,Germany
- Rogner Bad Blumau, Bad Blumau, Austria
- Waldspirale, Darmstadt, Germany
- Altenrhein Market Hall, Staad, Switzerland
- Kuchlbauer Tower, Lower Bavaria, Germany
After watching this video and getting to know Hundertwasser's other architectural creations, I just fell in love with his style!
I dream of visiting all these places.
There are many gorgeous places to visit in Austria, many of them are underrated but they will strike you with natural beauty, amazing architecture or rich historical past.
Useful information about the Hundertwasser House
Where is the Hundertwasser House located?
Address: Kegelgasse 36-38 (Kegelgasse 36-38), A-1030 Wien.
How to get to the Hundertwasser House in Vienna?
If you plan to go to the Hundertwasser House from the center of Vienna, then take the No. 1 tram on Stephansplatz in the direction of Prater-Hauptallee.
Get off at the Hetzgasse stop.
Another option is to get there on the subway.
You need a U3 line. Go to Rochusgasse Station. Then, walk for about 15 minutes to the Hundertwasser House.
If you arrive from another part of Vienna, then use the Wiener Linien website that will plan the route you need and tell you the number of the tram or bus.
Excursion to the Hundertwasser House on a bike
Do you want to visit the Hundertwasser House with a local while exploring Vienna on a bike?
There are several options for that.
During 3 hours, you will ride a bike through a unique route in a company of a local guide.
You will see the most important sights of Vienna, such as the Karlskirche, the Vienna Opera House, the Imperial Palace, and also visit places a bit outside of the city center.
At the end of the tour, the guide will take you to the Hundertwasser house and share stories only local knows.
The second option is the Vienna Combo package - Morning Walk & Afternoon Bike Tour.
In this combined tour, in the morning, you will visit the Old Town of Vienna. With your guide, you will discover local culture and how people live in Vienna.
The guide will share with you the local places such as bars, restaurants, and the city's legendary cafes that you can visit after the tour.
In the afternoon, you will cycle to on the famed Ringstrasse and experience the grandeur of Imperial Vienna. Then you will reach the Hundertwasser House and the giant Ferris wheel.
The Hundertwasser Museum
Together with the Hundertwasser House, I recommend visiting the Hundertwasser Museum.
It is part of the Vienna House of Arts, KunstHausWien, and it will take you only a 10-minute walk from the Hundertwasser House.
Recognizing it by its appearance will be very simple because this building is in a similar style to the Hundertwasser House.
Look what awaits you:
Can you imagine, this beautiful and unusual building used to be a tobacco factory?
Hundertwasser rebuilt it and turned it into an exhibition center.
What to see at the Hundertwasser museum?
The Hundertwasser Museum contains the most complete collection of works of this unusual Austrian artist and architect.
You can't visit the Hundertwasser House from the inside unless you are a resident of the house or invited in by the resident. But in the museum, you can see how the house looks from the inside.
It's also the only place where you can get acquainted with his original paintings, architectural sketches, graphic works, and environmental solutions.
Where the Hundertwasser museum is located?
The Hundertwasser Museum address: Untere Weißgerberstraße 13.
Opening hours: daily from 10:00 to 18:00.
How to buy a ticket to the Hundertwasser House online
- A ticket to the Hundertwasser Museum costs 11 euros.
- A ticket to the current exhibition is 9 euros.
- A combo ticket to the Hundertwasser Museum AND current exhibition costs 12 euros.
So, the combo ticket seems to be the best option as you can see more additional exhibitions at the KunstHausWien for just 1 euro. Temporary exhibitions often focus on sustainability, climate change, recycling and urbanism, as the museum positions itself as a green museum.
You can purchase the combo ticket on the spot or, in order to avoid the lines at the ticket office, get the ticket online. The ticket gives you access to a permanent exhibition and a temporary special exhibition.
You can buy the ticket to the Hundertwasser House and the special exhibition online here:
Tips for visiting the Hundertwasser House and the Museum
Go on a virtual tour around the Hundertwasser house
On the ground floor of the Hundertwasser House, there is a cafe called the Kunst und Café (Art and Cafe).
There you can watch a documentary about the Hundertwasser house for free. The architect talks about his concept and personally guides you through his unusual house.
Visit the Hundertwasser Village
The Hundertwasser Village is located on Kegelgasse street near the Hundertwasser House.
This building with a forest on the roof was also designed by Hundertwasser. It was built due to the large influx of visitors to the apartment building.
In the village, there are several souvenir shops, a cafe with a bar and toilets-museums with a funky design.
Hunt for unusual souvenirs at the Hundertwasser museum
There is a shop at the Hundertwasser Museum that will solve your problem with finding an unusual souvenir from Vienna.
Here you can get a designer umbrella with a print of a Hundertwasser painting, posters, or honey collected by bees who live in the rooftop garden of the museum.
I hope you, like me, will enjoy this colorful and unusual house and the Hundertwasser philosophy.
In conclusion, I will put a quote from Hundertwasser that has sunk into my heart:
"Architecture must give the man back his soul.
The Hundertwasser House is an architectonic sign that calls on us to turn about, to turn our backs on traditional and soulless architecture.
It is the house where the creativity of nature meets the creativity of man"
Sasha Naslin & The Alternative Travel Guide
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