In the heart of Vienna, Austria, stands a whimsical, one-of-a-kind residential building known as Hundertwasserhaus. Designed by Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, it’s a captivating architectural treasure worth exploring.
Abandoning conventional linear forms and box-like structures, Hundertwasserhaus boasts an eclectic mix of shapes, colors, and columns that reflect the signature style of its creator, Friedensreich Hundertwasser. The mastermind behind the design, Hundertwasser collaborated with architect Joseph Krawina to bring this unique vision to life. Today, it’s among Vienna’s top attractions, with one travel blogger describing it as:
“…a contender for Europe’s most quirky tourist attraction.”
Born in 1928 as Friedrich Stowasser, the renowned artist and architect later adopted the name Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser while studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Known for his preference for spirals, curves, and eccentric structures, Hundertwasser’s unique architectural style was inspired by his belief that happiness could be found in joyful design. His works, which can be seen in Austria, Germany, Japan, and New Zealand, include the Fernwarmewerk municipal heating plant, the Hundertwasserhaus apartment building, and the KunstHaus museum in Vienna. Hundertwasser passed away in 2000 while en route to Germany aboard the RMS Queen Mary 2, leaving behind a legacy of vibrant and unconventional architecture.
Completed in 1985 with a price tag of over €7 million, Hundertwasserhaus marked the artist’s first foray into architecture. Although the passage of time has somewhat muted its original vibrant hues, the building remains an eye-catching departure from contemporary architectural norms.
Owned by the city of Vienna, the apartments within Hundertwasserhaus are rented out to residents as part of the public housing program. While visitors cannot enter the building due to its residential nature, they can stroll around the exterior or enjoy the terrace café.
Getting to Hundertwasserhaus:
Subway: While no station is directly adjacent to the building, the U3 stations Wien Mitte-Landstraße and Rochusgasse are nearby. Wien Mitte-Landstraße also serves as a stop on the U4 line.
Tram/bus: Take tram line 1 to Hetzgasse, situated just a short distance from Hundertwasserhaus.
Address: Kegelgasse 34-38 / Löwengasse 41-43, 1030 Vienna
Additional Hundertwasser Attractions in Vienna:
Fernwarmewerk Spittelau (heating plant): Another captivating Hundertwasser creation, this district heating plant is renowned for its golden sphere and vibrant smokestack, offering a visually striking example of op-art. Located at Spittelauer Lande 45.
Hundertwasser Facade: While Hundertwasser only designed the facade of this particular building, it still showcases his signature mosaic style. Visit this architectural gem at Untere Weissgerberstrasse 27.
Kunst Haus Wien (museum): Dedicated to the life and works of Hundertwasser, this museum houses a variety of his artistic creations. Located at Untere Weissgerberstrasse 13, KunstHausWien is open daily from 11 am to 7 pm, with free admission.