“Everyone should be able to build, and as long as this freedom to build does not exist, the present-day planned architecture cannot be considered art at all. We must at last put a stop to having people move into their quarters like chickens and rabbits into their coops.”

-Freidensreich Hundertwasser, from Mouldiness Manifesto against Rationalism in Architecture

Hundertwasser was born in Vienna in 1928 as Friedrich Stowasser. Around 1949 he exchanged the Czech “Sto-” (which translates to ‘hundred’) in his surname for the German “Hundert-” (which also translates to ‘hundred’). At this same time, he went from “Friedrich” to “Friedensreich” – effectively becoming “Peace-Kingdom Hundred-Water.” He initially gained acclaim for his paintings, but is currently more renowned for his unique architectural stylings. His revolutionary ecological stands with regard to architecture have earned him the nickname “Architecture-Healer.” His works have been used for flags and stamps, coins and posters, schools and churches.

Hundertwasser so believed in the negative influence of “straight line” architecture on one’s health, that he encouraged people to refuse to enter into buildings that were based on the ninety degree angle / grid paradigm. He told people that if they were supposed to meet somebody in one of those straight buildings, they should call from a phone outside and ask the person to meet them under a tree, or in a Baroque pavilion. He said “I will carry a kilogramme of plaster of paris around with me. If I receive an invitation to go somewhere, i will have a look at the building first. If it is a smooth one in which people are confined who are not allowed to do anything, who can do nothing, want to do nothing, I will insist on putting a nice lump of plaster of paris on the wall with my own hands. If I am not permitted to do this I won’t go in.”

Hundertwasser was a big fan of decay, deterioration, rust, vandalism, graffiti – anything that would encroach upon the tyranny of the rigid, measured and sterile world, undermining its fascist authority and returning objects to a state more harmonious with nature. He yearned for bright colors, twisting and irregular lines that reflected man’s meandering path through his day, the unstructured debris of life careening towards entropy. –Ciphe

Hundertwasser Manifestos and Texts

…Hundertwasser’s thoughts are a philosophy of the aesthetic, the life and art in harmony with nature. Mostly the texts were devised and written for special occasions or individual concerns. The publications appeared singular and texts were distributed differently. Hundertwasser saw himself not as a writer but rather as a thinker

Since his first artistic actions his thoughts circulate around the same topics: life, nature and all beauty, what happens between, next to function and profit. It attracts attention that the texts were cumulative subdivided, more targeted and gets more profoundness by and by. They obey not the trends, the rumour of the public and the exchange value, they owe their appearance the diligently and exact study of humans and their manifold interdependences and addictions, necessities and opportunities, but also their lapses…

Walter Schurian, in:
Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Schöne Wege, Gedanken über Kunst und Leben [Beautiful Paths, Thoughts on Art and Life]
Writings 1943 – 1999, Munich 2004 (translation from German)

For more about Hundertwasser, click the photo below.

The Painter-King with the Five Skins

The Painter-King with the Five Skins

Mouldiness Manifesto against Rationalism in Architecture

(1958/1959/1964)

Painting and sculpture are now free, inasmuch as anyone may produce any sort of creation and subsequently display it. In architecture, however, this fundamental freedom, which must be regarded as a precondition for any art, does not exist, for a person must first have a diploma in order to build. Why?

Everyone should be able to build, and as long as this freedom to build does not exist, the present-day planned architecture cannot be considered art at all. Our architecture has succumbed to the same censorship as has painting in the Soviet Union. All that has been achieved are detached and pitiable compromises by men of bad conscience who work with straight-edged rulers.

The individual’s desire to build something should not be deterred! Everyone should be able and have to build and thus be truly responsible for the four walls in which he lives. And one must take the risk into the bargain that such a fantastic structure might collapse later, and one should not and must not shrink from human sacrifice which this new mode of building demands, perhaps demands. We must at last put a stop to having people move into their quarters like chickens and rabbits into their coops.

If such a fantastic structure built by the tenants themselves collapses, it will usually creak beforehand, anyway, so that people will be able to escape. But from then on the tenant will deal more critically and more creatively with the housing he lives in and will bolster the walls and beams with his own hands if they seem too fragile to him.

The tangible and material uninhabitability of slums is preferable to the moral uninhabitability of utilitarian, functional architecture. In the so-called slums only the human body can be oppressed, but in our modern functional architecture, allegedly constructed for the human being, man’s soul is perishing, oppressed. We should instead adopt as the starting point for improvement the slum principle, that is, wildly luxuriantly growing architecture, not functional architecture.

Functional architecture has proved to be the wrong road to take, similar to painting with a straight-edged ruler. With giant steps we are approaching impractical, unusable and ultimately uninhabitable architecture.

For the rest of the Manifesto, click here: PDF-Download

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