Osaka: Austrian Artist Hundertwasser In Japan

Friedensreich Hundertwasser was an amazing artist from Austria. He helped design the Maishima Incineration Plant in Osaka. I like how he was always interested in all aspects of life, making even the most mundane aspects of life more artistic - such as toilets and garbage:

...According to the guide, the plant didn’t cost any more than a traditional one because they cut corners in other areas. Inside, visitors will see what must be the world’s cleanest incineration plant. The whole place is spotless, high-tech, well-decorated and modern. Trucks pull up to a giant garbage pit, and two giant robotic hands (each 6m in circumference) pick up the garbage and dump it into a huge incinerator. The plant can handle 900 tons of garbage a day and is extremely impressive.

If you are interested in finding out more about this quirky waste disposal icon, free tours are available with reservations. There is a good English pamphlet available but the guides do not speak English so please arrange an interpreter or come with a Japanese speaker.

Access: From Sakurajima station on the JR Yumesaki line, take the Maishima Sports Island bus and get off at ‘Konohana Ohashi Nishizume’ stop. The plant is open every day except Sundays and national holidays. Tours start at 10am, 1:30pm and 3pm. The tour lasts about 90 minutes. Reservations can be made by telephone, mail, or fax, but must be received at least one week before the visit.

Construction period: Begun in March 1997, completed in April 2001.

For more information see Osaka City


Exhaust gas treatment:
bug filter, moist cleaning equipment, catalytic equipment for removing NOx, etc.

Coping with dioxins:
The plant keeps exhaust gas concentration below 0.1 nanograms by computer controlled high-temperature operation + use of bug filter + catalytic NOx removal. Dioxins in escaping ash are decomposed with superheated dechlorination equipment

Chimney height:
1, Hokkoshiratsu 1cho-me, Konohana-ku, Osaka

In his architectural projects, Herr Hundertwasser, "implemented window right and tree tenants, uneven floors, woods on the roof, and spontaneous vegetation."

His first visit to Japan was back in 1960, according to this biography.

1960 Visits Japan. Receives the Mainichi Prize at the 6th International Art Exhibition, Tokyo. Very successful exhibiton in Tokyo. Paints in Hokkaido and returns to Vienna via Siberia.
1961 Marries Yuko Ikewada (divorced 1966). Very successful retrospective at the Venice Biennial.

Works include housing complexes in Germany; a church in Bärnbach, Austria; a district heating plant in Vienna; an incineration plant and sludge centre in Osaka, Japan; a railway station in Uelzen; a winery in Napa Valley; and a public toilet in New Zealand (in Kawakawa)... where he became a citizen in 1986! Video here.

My introduction to Hundertwasser was sometime in the early 1990s, when his works were exhibited at the Teien Art Museum in Meguro, including the drawings for his clever toilets!

I find his wikipedia page severly lacking in many ways, but, ok, I guess being an artist has never been easy. Furthermore, my knowledge of where my garbage ends up is even more lacking. How about you?


Video from inside the massive Osaka garbage disposal plant:


K and S said…
My husband visited this for German language class, I should check it out soon!
Pandabonium said…
As for my garbage - I put it in a bag and the bag in a bin. Then a truck comes and takes it "away". Yeah, that's where it goes. "Away". ;^)

Not sure I like the idea of dressing up such facilities with an artsy facade - let's face up to the ugly consumption and waste of resources that they represent.
Martin J Frid said…
Thanks for the comments - I like Hundertwasser so I'm hoping I will get to see this building at some point.
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