Monday, December 15, 2008

my new favorite architect, or, why i should start practicing german again

It all started with this posting on Google Sightseeing: an aerial photo of what turned out to be my new favorite building. (Come to think of it, I'm not sure that I had a favorite building before. But I do now.) The roof takes an unusual shape: a long, curving incline; and it also happens to be green, planted with maple, beech, and lime trees. That's cool enough, and it also explains the building's name, Waldspirale: Wald is German for forest; spirale, as you will have guessed, refers to the spiral shape.

But then! Then I saw this:

(click photo to link to original flickr source)

What splendid craft! What controlled exuberance! What a glorious use of color! Is it...? Could it be...? I think I'm in love.

Waldspirale is an apartment building in Darmstadt, Germany, and for its design we may thank the late Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser. No, I'm not making that up. Friedrich Stowasser was born in Vienna on this day in 1928, and he adopted a rather more colorful moniker, which translates (rather clunkily) into English as Peace-empire Rainy-day Dark-colored Hundred-water.

Here's another sample of the prolific artist's work:

(click photo to link to original flickr source)

That's the Hundertwasserhaus in Plochingen, Germany. It's not my new favorite, but it certainly has its merits. (Does it remind anyone else of the Spanish missions in California?)

So. If I suddenly take off and move to Germany, you'll have a pretty good idea as to where to find me.

Alles Gute zum Geburtstag, Herr Hundertwasser. Sie lebt noch, im seiner Kunst. Danke.


Tres Jolie Julie said...

I made sure that the one site we saw in Wien was Hundertwasser's undulating museum, his Kunsthaus. My favorite part was his reinterpretation of the Australian flag. He is sort of Gaudi-esque to me. Did you know he designed the "Quixote Winery" in Napa Valley?

rantipoler said...

I was just going to say that he reminds me of Gaudí until I saw that my idea was less than original. Oh well. Pretty fabulous.

Ben said...

So how will I know which apartment is yours? It's the one that looks like it's bleeding to death, the one on the left. I'm not going to say that he reminded me of Gaudí even though he did.

skylark said...

Julie: I didn't even know that you went to Wien. I guess that's what you do when you move to Europe for a year, huh? Wikpedia told me about the Quixote Winery; I might just have to go check it out. For the design and the scenery, of course.

A-L: it's okay, you can still say it. Everybody else is, anyway.

Ben: don't be ridiculous. I'm much more likely to find myself in a raspberry layer of the rainbow-sherbet-colored Waldspirale, I should think.

And to all of you: okay, okay, there are some elements that might be considered reminiscent of Gaudí. But, and don't tell any catalanes about this, but I think I might like Hundertwasser better. For now, anyway. His style is ever so slightly more down to earth, it seems; more livable, I think (because I'm totally an expert by now, right?)

chrome3d said...

Somebody else could have tried something like that too, but it takes an artist and an outsider to do that, not architect. There are far too few buildings like that.

Tres Jolie Julie said...

We should make a trip out to the Quixote winery together. : D

Don't tell Armando, because he flips out when I just make the comparison, let alone make a superlative declaration.

Speaking of studying German! goes more into depth with the German part than which is also good.

PS Because I thought of follow-up commenting on this post, I found your responses, but normally I do not re-check your posts I comment on. Perhaps you need a comments-only feed.

Tres Jolie Julie said...

PS maybe I just forgot to click the "email follow-up comments to you" box. Doh.