On the “Mold Manifesto” and the Subnatural

A professor of mine recently read Subnature, and reminded me of Hundertwasser’s “Mold Manifesto” and its absence from my study. What a huge oversight of mine. Hundertwasser’s 1950s critique of functionalism and architectural professionalism (included in Ulrich Conrad’s overview of Modernist writings) fits so well into the themes explored in the introduction of Subnature. Perhaps in some future revised edition, I will be able to include a chapter on “mould”.

Some relevant passages from the manifesto:

“When rust sets in on a razor blade, when a wall starts to get mouldy, when moss grows in a corner of a room, rounding its geometric angles, we should be glad because, together with the microbes and fungi, life is moving into the house and through this process we can more consciously become witnesses of architectural changes from which we have much to learn.

[…]In order to rescue functional architecture from its moral ruin, a decomposing solution should be poured over all those glass walls and smooth concrete surfaces, so the moulding process can set in.

It is time for industry to recognise its fundamental mission, which is to engage in creative
moulding!

It is now the task of industry to engender in its specialists, engineers and doctors a feeling of moral responsibility towards moulding.

This moral responsibility towards creative moulding and critical weathering must already be established in education laws. Only the engineers and scientists who are capable of living in mould and producing mould creatively will be the masters of tomorrow. And only after creative moulding, from which we have much to learn, will a new and wonderful architecture come about.”

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