Where I Imagine Dr. Seuss Might Have Lived

March 2nd was Theodor Geisel/Dr. Seuss’ birthday. This post is in his honor, though any relationship between him and this building is all in my imagination.

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Theodor Geisel doesn’t actually have anything to do with this housing complex – at least, as far as I know. But when I first saw a picture of the Hundertwasser WaldSpirale building, I immediately pictured it as the place where Dr. Seuss would have lived.

In fact, this architectural design is the creation of Austrian architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Hundertwasser was a painter, architect and philosopher with definite ideas of how people should live. He liked undulating floors and is quoted as saying, “an uneven floor is a melody to the feet.” He also believed that people should be able to lean out their windows and paint as much as they could reach so that anyone looking at the window would know that an individual lived there. He felt that “human misery was a result of rational, sterile, monotonous architecture.”

There is nothing monotonous or sterile about his Wald Spirale (translates as forest spiral) in Darmstadt, Germany.

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The residential complex has no right angles. It has no regularly sized windows. In fact, each window is unique. Trees grow out of some windows and along the roofline. The floors are uneven. There are turrets and zig zags and a rainbow of colors. I wanted to sit and look at it for hours. But after walking 45 minutes from my hotel to see it, intending to sit and study all of its nooks and crannies while I sipped a large coffee, I arrived to find that it was surrounded by other residential buildings and that there were no benches where I could sit and admire all the eccentricities before me.

So I stood there, snapping pictures as people arrived “home” and stepped out of their cars, laden with bags. I stood as a few people brought down their garbage to the well-hidden dumpsters. And then I stood a minute more as people scowled at me gawking at their apartment house as though I were a voyeur who was trying to figure out how I could get inside. (Okay, so they had me pegged correctly.) Reluctantly, I left.

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If only Dr. Seuss HAD lived there. I think he would have invited me in. Don’t you?

24 responses to “Where I Imagine Dr. Seuss Might Have Lived

  1. What a fascinating building! And I love uneven floors so am happy to hear I’m not the only one 🙂 I even had my contractor raise a floor board between the bedroom and the hallway as I loved how it was raised that way in my previous home.

  2. Julie, you made me really smile… Oh and contemplate! 🙂 Quite an interesting building, I’ve got to say. Growing up, I’ve always thought of Dr. Seuss living in a green lab somewhere always with some kind of concoction in both hands.

  3. Lovely nonconformiity. I probably prefer the Crooked House pub in Dudley (UK) where you feel drunk the minute you walk in, and where you can roll a coin uphill on the counter.

    • From pictures I’ve seen, I’d agree that it’s Gaudi-esque.
      Oddly, the only way I learned about this place during my stay in Darmstadt was by browsing through a postcard rack. I found a postcard of the building and then went in search. It wasn’t too far a walk from the center of town.

      • I’ve found postcards to be a great starter for not only making an itinerary but also finding picturesque photo snapping spots. Then, it’s fun to put your own spin on things. 🙂

      • I agree. Postcards can not only lead me to things I want to see, but also give me ideas for how I’d like to photograph a place. It almost seems like cheating.

  4. Great post, Juliann. Barcelona is another city where I think Dr. Seuss would have felt right at home. I enjoy your blog! You have a strong voice and a very interesting outlook!

  5. Pingback: Dr. Seuss Trees | Browsing The Atlas·

  6. Pingback: Hidden Hundertwasser | Browsing The Atlas·

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