“Get out! This is a private property!”
A woman screamed at me when she caught me trying to sneak inside her building. I apologized and explained to her how exciting it was for me to find this place, after being lost in Vienna for two hours. I asked her politely if I can take a quick look at the inside of the building. Even though she was loud and clear when she told me to stay out in English, she acted as if she didn’t understand a word I was saying. She thought I was crazy, and instead of letting me enter she called security.
What she and the security didn’t understand was the excitement I felt when I saw Hundertwasserhaus. It was like a house out of a fairy tale book. The irregular shape of the building, bold colored and undulating façade, eccentric columns, and sparkling mosaics, it was better than the painting I saw of the house on my calendar. I’ve been dreaming and planning to see this place ever since I discovered it in a bookstore. The building had a personality, it was alive and vibrant. It didn’t blend into the conventional residential sector of Vienna, but it stood there with such a pride that no one can doubt its right to be there. I was mesmerized, capturing every moment, touching, and enjoying the outside of the building. All that was left to do was to see the inside and go up to the roof. I read that the uneven floors are like a melody to the feet, the roof is a green haven covered in grass, and there were trees growing out of the building. I imagined being inside, maybe there are mosaics decorating the interior walls, colored stairs are leading inside, and I wanted to feel the melody of the undulating floors under my feet.
You don’t see much beautiful architecture, if any, when growing up in company housing in South Korea or a quintessential American suburb in Michigan. I never felt at home when I was growing up, and consoled myself with books and imaginations. After I read, I would imagine myself being inside the books, and living in places I was reading about : the castles, mansions, huts, small farming villages, and even under the sea. Then, I would transform them into my own versions through drawings and paintings. What lacked in my surroundings existed and proliferated in my insatiable mind.
Later, I started reading Greek/ Roman Mythology, Biography, and History books, and wanted to do more than just imagining. I made a mission to travel and witness the places I read about. I pinned all...