Hundertwasser at the KunstHausWien

Hundertwasser Haus in Vienna

I’ve been building up to a climax here all week. You probably haven’t noticed, but it’s true. Today we have the coffee climax at the Café im KunstHausWien.

My sister asked me today if I did anything other than drink coffee while I was in Vienna. In fact, I did. I did a ton of other things. To name a few, I visited the Belvedere palace and saw Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss,” though almost more importantly many other paintings from German Im- and Expressionism, the Secession, and other eras. I also went to other museums around town, saw the Lipizzaner horses, visited the Schönbrunn palace, took a day trip to Bratislava, and much more.

On the day in question, Pat and I ventured to see some very unique architecture. The building in question (see above) was designed by Hundertwasser, who designed a similar apartment building only a few blocks away. While you can’t enter the apartment building because people live there, the KunstHaus is, as it’s a museum, accessible to the public. Hundertwasser was transfixed with bringing humans back into a natural setting (as much as the 20th century life would allow) and so he built buildings around trees, planted gardens on roof terraces, had uneven flooring, and generally a very colorful, “green” architectural style. This created a very pleasant atmosphere for Pat and me, after we found the KunstHaus thanks to a wonderful Austrian Oma stopped us and told us where to go. Yes, she stopped us. Well, sort of. I was taking a picture of a different building and she asked “Are you looking for Hundertwasser? It’s down there. And if you take a right and then a left and walk two blocks, you’ll find the Kunst Haus, also designed by Hundertwasser.” Or at least she said something like that. In any case, Pat and I were happily surprised by her kindness and trekked off.

Café in the courtyard of the Kunst Haus Wien

We safely arrived at the KunstHaus and decided our schedule only allowed for a look at the museum or a visit to the café. Naturally we chose the café, which would also give us a chance to write our postcards. This ended up being a wonderful idea. I ordered a kleiner Brauner and Pat ordered a Melange. We snapped some photos and then got to writing. When the coffees came, we took a sip (not before taking this photo):

A kleiner Brauner

It was heaven. This kleiner Brauner was like no coffee I had ever had before, and probably like no coffee I will ever have again. I had read David Lebovitz’s entries on the “Illy Coffee University” but I have to admit I hadn’t believed it entirely. It felt just a wee bit too much like an advertisement: Illy inviting a blogger to their “University,” him writing about all of the wonders of the company. I couldn’t remember ever having tasted Illy coffee before, but if there’s a place to have it that’s not in Italy, it would be at the KunstHausWien. It lacked any hint of other espressos I’d had, and had a smooth, nutty, pure flavor. Since then I’ve been a curious convert: was it just the KunstHaus? Or are all Illy coffees like this? I can’t wait to try my next one to find the answers. The problem with having been in the capital of coffee culture is that it’s hard returning to the “real world” of hit-or-miss cafés.

The Hundertwasser Haus can be found on the corner of Kegelgasse and Löwengasse. The KunstHausWien is around the corner on Untere Weißgerberstraße 11-13. The KunstHaus is open 10am-7pm daily.

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