Hundertwasser House in Vienna, address, description and photos

Hundertwasser House

The Hundertwasser House is an unusual building in Vienna that is both a house and a work of art at the same time. It is the first masterpiece by the epathetic architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser and was commissioned by the Viennese City Hall in 1986.

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Video: Hundertwasser House

General Information

The famous Austrian artist Friedrich Hundertwasser can be treated differently. Some consider him a genius, and some consider him a madman. The famous house in the center of Vienna shows his artistic and philosophical ideas to the full.

This most unusual residential building in Vienna is located in the Landstrabe district. Hundertwasser’s house is located at the intersection of Kegelgasse and Löwengasse. There is no point in giving the exact address, because this building cannot be confused with any other, and it is also impossible not to notice it.

If you come to Vienna in an organized sightseeing tour, you will definitely be shown it and bring the whole group here by bus. Tour organizers love this sight, especially because you can see the Hundertwasser House for free.

The life and work of Friedensreich Hundertwasser

Before describing the Hundertwasser House itself, it is worth telling about the famous Austrian artist himself. For most tourists who are not familiar with him, the house just seems like a gimmick, as if it was specially built here to lure tourists. Of course, this is not the case.

Friedensreich Hundertwasser’s name and surname are not real; in fact, the artist’s name was Frederick Stovasser. He was born in Vienna in 1928. His father was German and died just after his son was born.

His mother brought him up alone, and on the eve of Austria’s annexation to the Third Reich she baptized him into Catholicism, which saved the boy. He managed to survive the war, but his mother and all his relatives on his mother’s side were killed in Nazi concentration camps.

Frederick himself hid his origins, and even served for a time in the Nazi youth organization Hitler Hugent. It was this terrible time in Austrian history that shaped Hundertwasser’s worldview. He loved and fought most of all for peace and the reunification of man with nature.

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The artist formed his new name himself, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, from several words that can be literally translated into Russian as: “A peaceful country of hundreds of waters.” In painting, Hundertwasser tried to use curves and a variety of colors. His style of painting is very similar to Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt (their works can also be seen in Vienna in the Belvedere Palace), who were role models for him as a child.

Hundertwasser’s greatest fame was in architecture, although he himself was not an architect and did not know anything about building construction. He designed the Hundertwasser House in Vienna together with the real architect Josef Kravina, with whom he quickly fell out and asked the Viennese authorities to replace him. The second co-author of the house was Peter Pelikan.

Hundertwasser hated right angles and straight lines. Many of his statements, some very aggressive, are known on this subject:

  • “Nature has no right angles.”
  • “A square is like the shape of a column of soldiers on a march.”
  • “Straight lines are the devil’s tool.”

He created all his buildings in this vein. A minimum of straight and a maximum of curved forms, no right angles and a variety of colors. Hundertwasser sincerely believed that the faded colors of modern cities and straight geometric shapes made people unhappy.

Hundertwasser actively used multicolored mosaics in all of his architectural projects. The mosaic was made up of broken pottery and is intended to decorate the house with a variety of colors. Another of Hundertwasser’s techniques were the domes he created on the roofs. There is one dome on the roof of a house in Vienna, but it is quite difficult to see it from below.

Hundertwasser’s desire for nature is evident in the abundance of greenery in the house. Trees and bushes grow on the terraces of the house, and the roof is a large lawn with grass and bushes. This is exactly how the artist imagined the house, where people should live. And they do live in it. This is a real apartment house with 52 apartments.

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For tourists

Tourists are not allowed to go inside, as it is still private property, but it is possible to see what the house looks like inside. For this purpose, in the neighboring building across the street is a special shopping center. It is called Hundertwasser Village (Hundertwasser Village) and was built specifically for tourists in 1991.

Inside, it replicates the Hundertwasser House, the same uneven floors, plenty of curves and no right angles. Inside the center there is a cafe, a bar, and several stores selling souvenirs.

The only serious disadvantage of this shopping center is its very small size, often it is just not crowded. The only free space is in the shops selling reproductions of paintings, they are not of great interest to most visitors. The bar, for example, is much more popular and there are no free meters at the bar.

The Hundertwasser Village has a restroom that will surprise many visitors. Perhaps no other contemporary art toilet in the world. By the way, it is called “toilet of modern art”.

This house made Hundertwasser famous all over the world, but it was not his dream house. The artist did not take any money for this project, but simply stated that he was glad that something ugly was not built on this site.

At the end of his life, the artist took New Zealand citizenship and lived and worked already in that country. It was in New Zealand that he built his dream house and died here in 2000.

How to get there

If you come to the Austrian capital on your own, there are several ways to get here. You can go to the Vienna subway station Schwedenplatz and then take streetcar number 1 four stops. The stop you need is Hetzgasse. The most important thing is not to mix up the direction and get on a streetcar in the right direction.

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Each streetcar has a sign on the front to which stop it goes. You need the streetcar number 1 with the inscription “Prater Hauptallee”, because the end station of this route in your desired direction is exactly the Prater Park. Once you get off at the Hetzgasse stop, you will need to walk about 50 meters in the direction of the streetcar.

The second way is more difficult, but does not require you to pay for the streetcar. You need to go to the subway Rochusgasse (Rochusgasse), and from there walk 10 minutes on foot. From the subway, go straight on Rasumofskygrasse to the intersection with Löwengasse and turn left at this intersection.

The most difficult thing about this method is to find Razumovskigrasse after exiting the subway. If you have problems with this, you can ask someone. From there you won’t get lost, the street is straight and you have to go to the intersection with the big Marxergrasse, cross it and turn to the Löwengasse we need.

Follow the signs and you will not get lost. But we recommend to take the streetcar so it’s easier and safer.

Hundertwasser House

Hundertwasser House

Would you like to live in an extravagant “hilly” house completely devoid of straight lines? Do you think such a building doesn’t exist? Not until a flamboyant Austrian painter and architect under the pseudonym Friedensreich Hundertwasser (real name Friedrich Stovasser) came up with the idea of creating an “ecological” house in the 1980s.

The artist began creating his kitsch masterpiece in 1979 by order of the Viennese government. Hundertwasser was given the task of designing a house that would be as environmentally friendly as possible. Told – done.

Hundertwasser House

The architect Cravin worked on the project together with Hundertwasser, who favored biologically friendly materials – natural paints and glue, bricks, tile and wood. Due to the high cost of materials, the project was slightly modified by the Austrian mayor’s office.

The main idea that Hundertwasser wanted to convey – unity with nature, rejection of the usual stereotypes – was nevertheless realized. The house turned out the way the original artist wanted to see it: colored, with windows of different sizes (based on the need for light: the windows on the lower floors are larger than on the upper floors), with onion towers (so that the residents could feel like royalty), with colored, like the whole house, ceramic columns (to perform a decorative function).

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But the most important highlight of the eco-house is the numerous trees and vegetation. Thanks to the trees growing on the small balconies built into the façade, the horizontal parts of the building seem to disappear under the green roof.

Its appearance in Vienna drew mixed reactions: it was called both the wonder of the world and an aristocratic ghetto. Controversial nicknames were also earned by the artist himself. Be that as it may, but wishing to purchase apartments in this expensive, “motley” house was quite a lot.

Hundertwasser House

Hundertwasser’s house inside

In the house Hundertwasser is located 50 apartments (their area varies from 30 to 150 square meters), in which live 200 residents. In addition, the breathtaking building has a medical office, a café, a parking lot for 37 cars, children’s playrooms, several private and public terraces and a winter garden.

The rooms of the house, as well as its facades, differ from each other in their design. When creating them, the artist was guided by his own rule – the separate life of the house in the house. This means that Hundertwasser wanted the occupants to be able to recognize their apartments from the outside by colored zones that are divided by lines and mosaic edges.

The epathetic artist also believed that a person simply could not live in a standard room with tiles laid out in the right order, so in every way he tried to break stereotypes. The atypical approach is evident in the uneven floors and staircases, the rounded apartment corners, the builders’ handprints on the walls, and the ubiquitous use of ceramic tiles.

However, not every tourist can look at all this splendor. The inhabitants of the house were so tired of the endless crowds of gawkers that they posted a notice: Do not disturb the owners.

Hundertwasser House

Friedensreich Hundertwasser and his fabulous homes

The painter’s personality is best revealed in his projects. Friedensreich Hundertwasser was an unusual and original person who did not like monotony and boredom. The artist went to university several times and dropped out each time, liked to wear different socks and was able to leave behind many striking objects, such as the Hundertwasser Village, for example.

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This complex is located opposite the aforementioned house and is a shopping and exhibition center with tourist stores and a museum of the master’s creative works. The center was built in 1990-1991. The interior of all buildings of the complex, including the toilet, is characterized by the painter’s style: asymmetry, “crooked” stairs, numerous plants, madness of colors and abundance of broken mosaics.

Other buildings designed by Hundertwasser include the public toilet in Kawakawa (New Zealand), the Vienna incinerator plant, recycling plants in Japan, the Don Quixote winery in America, the Beer Tower in Bavaria, the thermal complex in Bad Blumau, the St Barbara church in Bernbach and most recently the Magdeburg Green Citadel.

Toilet in the complex

How to get there

The exact address of the Hundertwasser House is Kegelgasse 36-38, A-1030 at the intersection with Lowengasse 41-43.

Not far from this unusual sight in Vienna there is a subway station called Wien Mitte, where the high-speed trains from the airport arrive. The distance from the subway station to the controversial building is 900 meters and can be reached on foot.

Alternatively you can take streetcar number 1 to the Hundertwasser House. Get off at the Hetzgasse stop.

You can take a cab to the tourist attraction. Before you call a car, be aware that it is not cheap in Vienna, as represented by premium cars. Another important point: it is not customary to stop the cab in the Vienna streets, it is best to go to a special parking lot, where in the absence of cars you can use the Uber or MyTaxi applications.

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