Český Krumlov

13 04 2010

So Tom & I headed to Cesky Krumlov, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for the day. It’s famous for it’s castle, quaint town architecture and the fact that the artist Egon Schiele once lived there.

Český Krumlov

A Frontispiece

A mere half-hour on the bus from Budweis, we were soon back out in the bitter cold (perhaps -5) and wandering down towards the town.

Part Castle & Tower

Apparently, in the warmer months, this place is absolutely mobbed with tourists. There were a few here and there besides ourselves, but I felt fortunate to be there in relative calm, and with the town rooftops ghosted in snow it was certainly a picturesque place.

The only down-sides were that the castle was shut and the sky was boring and featureless (from a photographic point of view).

Part of the Castle

Tiddly Widdly

Krumlov was a lovely place awash with attractive crumbly old buildings, cobbled streets, and colours that really came to life under the soft lighting of an overcast sky. I think it would lose some vibrancy under the glaring sun, but then there are other benefits aren’t there?

There is also the Eggenberg brewery here, part of a brewing tradition dating back to the 14th century, and we managed to find time for a quick schnozz of dark ale in a nice old boozer.

Sadly, Tom left the next day to make his way back through Europe, but not before an evening of, what can only be described as, ‘Czech beer sampling’


The Hundertwasser House

4 04 2010

Now, ladies and jellybeans, on our roooooaaaaaaad trip, Tom & myself rested up for a night in Bad Soden, Frankfurt, roughly half-way between Leeds and České Budějovice. Inquiries at reception in the Ramada revealed that Bad Soden was host to ‘The Hundertwasser House’.


Hundertwasser Toilets

I bristled with gladness because, having seen his public toilets in Kawakawa, New Zealand, I knew roughly what to expect.

To explain: Friedensreich Hundertwasser (translation: Peace-Kingdom Hundred-Water) was an Austrian painter and architect whose work was characterised by bold colours, irregular forms and environmentalism.

The Hundertwasser House

House Detail

He rejected rational, “ugly” architecture and believed that sterile, monotonous buildings compounded human misery. He wrote essays and manifestos to reinforce his beliefs that the environment should be an important consideration in any building.

He built an apartment in Vienna with undulating floors, a roof covered in earth and grass, and encouraged the planting of urban trees: “If man walks in nature’s midst, then he is nature’s guest and must learn to behave as a well-brought-up guest.”

This particular Hundertwasser House is a residential building, by the way. So what do you think? Tom & I were at odds regarding the merit of such a building. Tom was distinctly unimpressed. He didn’t see the point of it and thought it could’ve been designed by his young son, James!

Side View

I loved it, as I did the public toilets in NZ. I think anything that brightens up the otherwise drab urban landscape is to be lauded. If a walk in the forest can promote peace of mind and feelings of general well-being, then I think architecture such Hundertwasser’s can have similar effects in an urban environment. It made me smile, anyway.

I thought it would be interesting to run a little poll to see what you thought. Let’s see over there ——> !