Vienna. It’s all Strauss and sachertorte, surely?

November 29, 2010

Not so. I visited the Austrian capital for the first time recently and, as well as enjoying all of its better-known attractions, came across one particular gem that has made a lasting impression. Set in the relatively tourist-free third district of the city, Landstraße, Museum Hundertwasser is a wibbly-wobbly shaped setting for the colourful and often controversial works of Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928-2000).

Imagine the anthesis of Sarah Beeny’s ‘stay neutral’ property development advice…this was a man with a passion for colour and an eye for architecture unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Alongside vibrant and occasionally disturbing paintings in brilliant shades of cobalt blue, lime green, scarlet and gold, set above intentionally uneven floors, sit scale models of formerly utilitarian buildings given the Hundertwasser treatment. Long before Tellytubbies hit our TV screens, he’d already conceived living spaces with undulating grass-topped roofs – Friedensreich abhorred straight lines – and lent his unique design style to a host of Austrian architecture ranging from a motorway service station and factory, to a new district heating plant and even a church.

Whatever your personal tastes and artistic understanding (mine being minimal!), I would thoroughly recommend a couple of hours spent touring this remarkable building for a glimpse inside the mind of a man who certainly saw the world through multi-coloured spectacles. Karen Carpenter.