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This beautiful little book contains great photographs of the architectural works of Friedensreich Hundertwasser. His name sounds like the spelling bee entry that sent Joey W. Knowy right into rehab, but, in fact, he is a mixture of Jewish and Austrian cultures and aptitudes, one that will make your head spin. His great environmentalism aside, the man overflows with oriental freedoms and intuitions, which are tempered just enough by his Austrian discipline to avoid a sense of clutter and confusion. In only a couple of instances does his fancy get the better of him, as in the building with the strange chiffon veils hanging from the roof.
He puts trees in rooms and has them growing on an angle out of the window. His need for endless variety pushes the limits of haphazardness without invoking chaos. His handling of color rivals Matisse and van Gogh. He becomes your favorite architect and buddy.
For more on his philosophy, read the book by Pierre Restany. It's the only manifesto worth reading in an age that, sadly, passed the failsafe point a number of decades ago.
My fantasy is to rent a room at the Hundertwasser House for a month and make animal calls to unwitting pedestrians on the street. Just a fantasy, though, like Hundertwasser's reality, because now I would probably get arrested and Hundertwasser wouldn't be around to bail me out.
A wonderful testament to the brief freedom that was.
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