Most of the children are familiar with the buildings of the psychedelic Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928-2000), since we are lucky enough to live in a city that boasts several prominent examples of his unique architecture. Perhaps the best known in Vienna is the Fernwärme, an incinerator which produces heat for more than 60,000 households in the city. Hundertwasser designed a new façade for the plant in 1987, following a fire, and his spectacular design, with its organic lines and bulbous chimney, is now one of the most distinctive landmarks on the Vienna skyline alongside the spire of St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the famous Riesenrad (Big Wheel).
Other impressive examples in Vienna include Hundertwasser House – a social housing project (pictured below) – and KunstHausWien which houses a museum devoted to the artist’s work.
Hundertwasser’s buildings would be more at home in a fairy tale than in real life Vienna. I wanted the children to really exercise their imaginations and build their own house in collage, inspired by Hundertwasser ‘s unmistakable architectural style.
We looked at photographs of his buildings and discussed which elements make them different to normal houses – such as the use of bright colours, gold spheres, onion domes, mosaic and chequered decoration, assymetry and lots of different window shapes.
Then the kids chose brightly coloured, silver and sparkly paper and used scissors and glue to create their own designs in the spirit of Hundertwasser.
Click on the gallery to see some of the children’s extraordinary buildings.