SchoolArts Magazine

May 2016

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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tion, design organization, and figure drawing. During the 1950s, Hun - dertwasser looked to other artists such as Egon Schiele for inspiration and guidance. Schiele's cityscapes seemed to be living beings—a con - cept later reflected in Hundertwas- ser's own work. Architectural Redesign Architectural redesign, a hallmark of Hundertwasser's work, is the repurposing of derelict structures into aesthetically pleasing spaces where people can live and work in harmony with nature. Much like Hundertwasser's colorful graphic prints and paintings, his architec- tural redesigns show masterful use of organic shapes, irregular patterns, and vibrant, unexpected color. About the Artwork The District Heating Plant is a waste-to-energy incinerator located in Vienna, Austria. The history of the District Heating Plant is unremarkable until a fire in 1989 destroyed the original structure. Shortly after the fire, the mayor of Vienna approached Hundertwasser about redesigning the plant's façade, giving him the opportunity to change the municipal plant into an environmentally sound and aesthetically pleasing work of art. Much of the outer surface of the District Heating Plant is made of concrete and corrugated metal. These surfaces are divided into an irregular checkerboard pattern of black and white. The contrasting colors recall the Viennese Secession, an art movement founded in 1897 by artists who protested traditional art. Saddleback arches create the roof line, while vertical corners consist of blue pillars capped with gold spheres. Windows of varying sizes and trimmed in a variety of col- ors are scattered across the District Heating Plant's exte- rior. An unconventional stand of trees is planted on the roof above the waste delivery area. A large golden sphere placed midpoint on a blue-tiled tower makes the plant a landmark visible from miles away. At night, the sphere is illuminated with fiber optics. Further up on the tower, kes- trels are allowed to nest. W hen we visualize architecture, we often think of buildings with rectangular or square forms, grid-like patterns, flat surfaces, and traditional rooftops. Friedensreich Hundertwasser envi - sioned something different: colorful buildings that incor- porate organic forms, irregular patterns, uneven surfaces, and gardens that grow from windows and roofs. In addition, Hundertwasser dealt with architecture in ways that offered aesthetically livable spaces in harmony with nature. Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928–2000) Friedensreich Hundertwasser began to draw and express himself through art when he was about five years old. Some ten years later, he began to draw in pencil while observing nature. He soon progressed to crayon and watercolor. At the conclusion of World War II, Hundertwasser decided to pursue a career as an artist. By choice, he had limited formal art training, declaring that schools had little to offer him beyond teaching basic skills of abstrac - Architecture in Harmon with Nature SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 21 L O O K I N G & L E A R N I N G F R I E D E N S R E I C H H U N D E R T WA S S E R A R T I S T A N D A R CH I T E C T Friedensreich Hundertwasser, District Heating Plant, Vienna, Austria (detail, fa ade). Photo by Erich Schauer.

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