28 February 2011

Architecture - Hundertwasser & Susanka

I am in love with architecture.  Have been since 9th grade.  I think it's hereditary, as my maternal grandfather was an architect, however, I never knew him.  Architecture, to me, is a puzzle - an awesome mind puzzle - that requires the architect to turn all preconceived notions on their heads and create something that is both aesthetically pleasing and highly functional.  The better an architect is at creating a balance between the two, the more highly lauded (s)he is.

I'm going to share with you the architecture of 2 of my favorite architects.  They are vastly different in terms of their style and execution, but globally acknowledged as among the best in their field and highly sought after.

I had the pleasure of travelling to Germany, Austria and Switzerland in 2000, and while in Vienna we stumbled across a neighborhood that took me by surprise.  The ground was paved but completely uneven - strange juts coming up here and there.  And the buildings - they looked as if they were straight off a 3rd grader's collage assignment - pieced haphazardly together with trees and bushes and vines growing straight out of the exterior walls.  Little did I know at the time that this was a neighborhood designed by world-famous architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

His name means "the empire of freedom" and "one hundred waters".  His overarching philosophy of architecture was that human misery was a result of the rational, sterile, and monotonous architecture.  And his own architecture reflects that sentiment. 

A home in Vienna.  Note the uneven lilt of the ground.

The Hundertwasser building in Germany.

An office building in Ohio.

A loft building in Vienna.  Note the trees and bushes growing out of the building - they're real!

My absolute favorite residential architect is Sarah Susanka, founder of The Not So Big Life philosophy.  She believes that homes should be sustainable, functional to their specific owners, and a joy to live in.  She spends so much of her time getting to know her clients and designing homes that cater to their lifestyles.  She doesn't build homes over 3,000 square feet, as she believes that additional space is wasted and families won't spend as much time together.  All her homes are built with sustainable or recycled resources.  AND all her homes are downright gorgeous.  Her philosophy is "smaller, but better built".

Gorgeous, yes?

Notice the attention to detail - the slats along the ceiling, the archways down the hall, the finial on the staircase.

The dining room/living room of a very beautiful house.


  1. I absolutely love the house! And definitely the idea that bigger is not necessarily better. Beautiful! I want it! :)

  2. I love the picnic basket office building!!!

    I meant to tell you, when we were at Borders the other day, I saw some architecture Lego sets! You can build the Space Needle, Sears Tower, Empire State Building, etc. I thought of you when I saw them! I'm sure Finn would love them, too. :)

  3. Jody, you should check out her other houses. Her website is www.susanka.com and there are links to "The Not So Big House" with lots of pictures. I have 2 of her books and I bring them out every once in a while just to drool! :)

    Dawn, I have 2 of those sets! I have the Guggenheim and the Sears Tower. I REALLY want FLW's Falling Waters, but it's $100! I can't imagine spending that much money on something that I'll snap together in an afternoon (well, ok, maybe fabric, but not legos!).