Street-view: Fernwaerme Heating Plant, Or, Willy Wonka's Incinerator


Fernwaerme Vien! Magical place of...garbage?

I cannot stress how much easier travel becomes when you visit someone who lives in the city, someone who's equally eager to discover its hidden secrets. If it weren't for Tom, I would never have seen this delightful garbage incinerator (three words that have never been stated in that order before).

The building was designed by Hundertwasser, a man who came to fame with his painted work but then moved to architecture in the 1950's.

Hundertwasser exemplifies a Howard Roark-ian approach to architecture and creativity, which has resulted in some truly original work around the world. He argues against "rationalism" and in favor of freedom. And what freedom. Take a closer look:


As you can see, pretty much anything goes on the building, apart from the old-fashioned straight line. Here are a few words from Hundertwasser's architectural manifesto as to why:

Today we live in a chaos of straight lines, in a jungle of straight lines. If you do not believe this, take the trouble to count the straight lines which surround you. Then you will understand, for you will never finish counting.

On one razor blade I counted 546 straight lines. By imagining linear connections to another razor blade of the same manufacturing process, which surely looks exactly the same, this yields 1,090 straight lines, and adding on the packaging, the result is about 3,000 straight lines from the same blade.

Not all that long ago, possession of the straight line was a privilege of royalty, the wealthy, and the clever. Today every idiot carries millions of straight lines around in his pants pockets.

This jungle of straight lines, which is entangling us more and more like inmates in a prison, must be cleared. Until now, man has always cleared away the jungles he was in and freed himself. But to clear a jungle you must first become aware that you are in one, for this jungle took form stealthily, unnoticed by mankind. And this time it is a jungle of straight lines.

Any modern architecture in which the straight line or the geometric circle have been employed for only a second – and were it only in spirit – must be rejected. Not to mention the design, drawing-board and model-building work which has become not only pathologically sterile, but absurd. The straight line is godless and immoral. The straight line is not a creative line, it is a duplicating line, an imitating line. In it, God and the human spirit are less at home than the comfort-craving, brainless intoxicated and unformed masses.

While the Fernwaerme's loaded with straight lines, you can tell that Hundertwasser designed it to look like shapes are trying to break free of their rigid 2-dimensional prisons.


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