The “urban forest”: the PALACE that has more TREES than tenants

It's called "Waldspirale" and it's a very special residential complex in Germany: it has a hidden secret on the roof

Credit: @fotocolectia_mea

Darmstadt is not the most beautiful city in Germany, yet there is one thing that deserves to be seen. Translated its name can be “wooded spiral”, it is a residential complex that is unique in its design and which hides a secret on the roof.

Let’s see it together.

The “urban forest”: the PALACE that has more TREES than tenants

# No straight lines

Credit: @wirlieben_de

Austrian artist and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser once called straight lines “the tools of the devil”.

Hundertwasser has designed many buildings in Austria and Germany, but there is one that perfectly embodies his hatred of straight lines and his connection with nature.

It is located in Darmstadt, an unattractive city near Frankfurt, within a suburb, and is a residential complex that stands out most of all.

Hundertwasser’s aversion to the “devil’s tools” is also carried inside this unusual building, the angles between the walls and the ceiling are in fact rounded in each apartment.

The building is called Waldspirale, literally translates to “wooded spiral”, let’s see why.

#Waldspirale, the hidden forest


The Waldspirale is a residential complex with a distinctive “U” shape.

Nothing in this building is regular: the highest point of the building has 12 floors while the lowest one has two.

The building houses 105 apartments and an extraordinary multitude of windows: there are more than 1,000, all of different irregular shapes and none created with straight lines.

This palace, however, has a hidden secret in its name, the roof looks like an immense curved slide and inside it contains an incredible forest: beech, maple and lime trees grow on the wavy and winding roof creating a unique spectacle.

According to Hundertwasser in the city, grass and vegetation should grow on all horizontal spaces, that is, wherever rain and snow fall, vegetation should grow. Roads are an example of this, so why not make them grow on roofs as well?

# The Waldspirale today

Credit: @fotocolectia_mea

The Waldspirale was the last of Hundertwasser’s creations. He died in 2000, aboard the RMS Queen Mary 2 en route to Germany from Australia to see his work. Many other Hundertwasser creations can also be seen in Vienna.

The Waldspirale can only be visited from the outside. Until a few years ago the terraced roof where a public place was located was accessible. Today, the venue is closed, so the roof is off limits.

The Waldspirale represents an example of unique creativity and as Friedensreich Hundertwasser wrote “it is a home for nature and for the dreams of humans, an example for increasing the natural space in the city”.