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