Is it possible to build something that is both highly functional & breathtakingly beautiful?

Is it possible to turn an incinerator into a work of art?

Is it possible to make the disposal of a city’s waste a must see stop on the tourist trail?

The answer to all of these is YES.

And it’s been done – in Vienna.

The incinerator at Spittelau was designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser and is a stunning piece of architecture. Much like all Hundertwasser’s buildings it’s eye catching, full of curves and heart stoppingly unique.

But it’s not just pretty – it’s practical too. It generates around 36,400 MWh of electricity each year from 263,200 m³ of waste deliveries, heating 190,000 homes and 4,200 public buildings, including Vienna’s largest hospital.

In addition the DeNOx plant, which reduces dioxin emissions as well as the nitrogen oxides generating low-level ozone, is amongst the most modern in Europe. On average, all emissions from the planet are below 30% of threshold values.
Whatever your views on incineration as a method of waste disposal and power generation, you have to admit this is a stunning piece of architecture and proves that we don’t have to build incinerators, or power plants, that no one wants to look at. Personally, I’d have no problem having a building as eye-catching as this “in my back yard”.

But Hundertwasser didn’t just change the face of incinerators, he did it for toilets too!

The public toilets in Kawakawa in the Northland Region of New Zealand were also designed by him and have made the area famous attracting tourists from all over the world.

He also designed housing complexes and train stations too. All of which prove that with some imagination and a willingness to try we can live in cities that are both beautiful and functional. We don’t have to look out of the window and see ugly grey tower blocks, or squat metal prefab factories or public toilets that even the French would think twice about using.
Maybe, as a start, it’s time we all painted our houses bright colours and banished boring grey from our towns and cities, putting some life and fun back into living.

About the Author: Chantal Cooke is a professional journalist, award winning businesswoman and co-founder of PASSION for the PLANET

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