Suitable premises for a permanent exhibition of Hundertwasser’s paintings were found in the third district of Vienna, the building of the former furniture factory of the Thonet Brothers, built in 1892. The size of the building made it possible not only to establish a Hundertwasser museum, but also to in-clude rooms for alternating exhibitions of international stature in the planning. The rebuilding, which involved integrating two buildings, was carried out from 1989 to 1991, with the Bank for Labour and Business (Bank für Arbeit und Wirtschaft), under its General Manager Walter Flöttl, acting as building sponsor. Hundertwasser was careful to leave the building’s fabric untouched as far as possible. Towards the street, an extension was added whose front bay windows provide additional light to the exhibition rooms; on the courtyard side a glass-walled stairwell was added.
On April 9, 1991 KunstHausWien was officially opened; it is managed as a private business, without any public funding or tax money.
The total exhibition space comes to about 4,000 sq.m. On the ground floor there are the Museum Shop and a café/restaurant, apart from the cashier’s and coat-check booths. On the first two upper floors a cross-section of Hundertwasser’s Œuvre is on display, including painting, graphics, tapestries and architectural models. The third and fourth floors are reserved for the international exhibitions.
The Third Skin in the Third DistrictThis is about the third skin, the outer skin of KunstHausWien.
Man is surrounded by three layers, his skin, his clothing and walls, the building.
Clothing and the walls of buildings have in recent times undergone a development which is no longer in keeping with the individual's natural requirements.
Windows are the bridge between inside and outside. The third skin is interspersed with windows as the first one is with pores.
The windows are an equivalent of the eyes.
The facade is not perfectly straight and flat, but humpy and interrupted by irregular mosaics. A black-and-white, irregular checkerboard pattern signals the disbanding of the grid system, its breakup.
What we urgently need is barriers of beauty; these beauty impediments consist of unregulated irregularities.
Paradises can only be made with our own hands, with our own creativity in harmony with the free creativity of nature.
Hundertwasser, April 1991
The Uneven FloorThe flat floor is an invention of the architects. It fits engines - not human beings. (...) If modern man is forced to walk on flat asphalt and concrete floors as they were planned thoughtlessely in designers' offices, estranged from man's age old relationship and contact to earth, a crucial part of man withers and dies. This has catastrophic consequences for the soul, the equilibrium, the well-being and the health of man.
An uneven and animated floor is the recoverery of man's mental equilibrium, of the dignity of man which has been violated in our levelling, unnatural and hostile urban grid system. (...)
The uneven floor becomes a symphony, a melody for the feet and brings back natural vibrations to man.
Architecture should elevate and not subdue man.
It is good to walk on uneven floors and regain our human balance.
The Role of KunstHausWienThe architecture of KunstHausWien would be a bastion against the dictatorhip of the straigth line, the ruler and T-square, a bridgehead against the grid system and the chaos of the absurd.
Art must meet man's and nature's pace.
Art must respect nature and the laws of nature.
Art must respect man and man's inspiration for true and durable values.
Art must again be a bridge between the creativity of nature and the creativity of man.
Art must regain its universal function for all and not be just a fashionable business for insiders.
Art must free itself from the ties of guided intellectual tutorhip.
Art should not suffer speculation and cultural industrialisation.
Art should not endure dogmatic enslavement through negative theories.
Art must have a purpose.
Art must create lasting values.
The courage to strive for beauty in harmony with nature.
The task of KunstHausWien is to achieve these goals.
Hundertwasser, October 1990