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Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928-2000) was an Austrian painter, architect, and one of the most popular persons of Austrian modern art. He is best known as the designer of Hundertwasser Haus in Vienna-Landstrasse, which is one of the most visited sights in Austria.
Hundertwasser Haus, as well as Hundertwasser himself, are symbols of freedom of expression, unusual shapes, wild colour combinations, and connecting buildings with nature.
Hundertwasser argued that too much regulation and lack of freedom in design of buildings make people’s lives depressing. He actively promoted freedom in architecture, unconventional shapes, and a greater connection with nature, and gave several legendary lectures and speeches, including nude speeches in 1967 and 1968.
Mouldiness Manifesto: Against Rationalism in Architecture by Hundertwasser was first presented in a recitation at the Abbey of Seckau in Austria in 1958. Since then it has been reproduced many times and translated to several languages. The Manifesto contains the so called Window Right Rule:
“The apartment house tenant must have the freedom to reach from his window as far as his arms can stretch to scrape off the mortar or deface the gridwork of his building. He must be allowed to paint as far as his arms can reach – everything pink, for instance, so that from the street or from a distance everyone can see that there lives a man who distinguishes himself from his neighbors…” (from the first English translation of the Mouldiness Manifesto: Against Rationalism in Architecture)
Friedensreich Hundertwasser often referred to himself as the architecture doctor. He has been famous for redesigning boring functional and industrial buildings into pieces of art. Among the best known are the heating plant in Wien-Spittelau, the Mierka Grain Silo in Krems, and the Rosenthal Factory in Selb.
A common element in many works by Hundertwasser, well visible on the Hundertwasser Haus or Spittelau Heating Plant, is the rich vegetation growing from the roof and other parts of the buildings. Hundertwasser said that human beings are actually guests in the nature and should behave in a humble way and with respect to it, even in the centres of big cities.
Outside Austria, a great example of this are the famous Public Toilets in Kawakawa in New Zealand, where Friedensreich Hundertwasser lived and worked for 25 years.
In 1999, shortly before his death, Hundertwasser started designing Die Grüne Zitadelle (Green Citadel) in Magdeburg in Germany. His work remained unfinished, but was completed in 2005.
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