Friedensreich Hundertwasser

Our houses have been sick for as long as there have been indoctrinated urban planners and standardised architects. They do not fall sick, but are conceived and brought into the world as sick houses.

These many houses, which we all endure in their thousands, are unfeeling and emotionless, dictatorial, heartless, aggressive, Godless, smooth, sterile, unadorned, gold and unromantic, anonymous and yawningly void.

They are an illusion of functionality. Such is their depressing nature that both their residents and passers-by fall sick.

Consider this: while 100 people live in a house, 10,000 walk and drive past it every day; these latter suffer just as much as the residents, if indeed not more so, from the depressing impact of the façade of a heartless house. But the hospitals are themselves sick.

Levelling, concentration-camp and barrack-style buildings destroy and standardise the most valuable thing a young person brings to society: spontaneous, individual creativity.

Had architects been able to cure these sick and sick-making buildings, they would not have built them at all.
So a new profession is needed: the architecture doctor.

The sole task of the architecture doctor is to restore human dignity and harmony with nature and human creation. Without first tearing everything down, but by making changes only at strategic points, and without great effort or financial resources. This includes deregulating corrected river courses, breaking up
sterile, flat skylines, converting areas of ground into uneven, undulating surfaces, letting spontaneous vegetation grow in gaps between cobbles and cracks in walls, where it disturbs no one, varying windows and irregularly rounding off corners and edges.

The architecture doctor is also responsible for even more decisive surgical operations, such as cutting away walls and positioning towers and pillars.

We simply need to allow window rights, plant roofs with grass and trees, let climbers grow and install tree tenants.

If you let windows dance by designing them in different styles, and if you allow as many irregularities as possible to appear or happen in façades and interiors, houses will recover. Houses will begin to live. Every house, however ugly and sick, can be healed.


Written 24 January, 1990, for publication in the newspaper AZ (Arbeiter Zeitung), Vienna.

Published in:

Newspaper AZ (Arbeiter Zeitung), Vienna, 12 February, 1990

Rand, Harry: Hundertwasser, Cologne: Benedikt Taschen Verlag, 1991, p. 169, abridged edition 1993 and edition 2003, p. 147

Hundertwasser. New York: Parkstone Press International, 2008, p. 175

Décimo, Jean-Michel (ed.), Le goût de l'architecture. Paris: Mercure de France, 2014, pp. 89-91 (French)

Hundertwasser The Green City, Exhibition catalogue, Sejong Museum of Art, Seoul, 2016, pp. 164-165 (English/Korean)