Embracing the Imagination of God

–by Andy Wade–

After spending time in the garden of my mind, planning this year’s garden (see earlier posts here and here) I was reminded of this post from two years ago. How do we create beauty in collaboration with the Creator? Are we willing to be daring in design? What would it look like to create with the imagination of God?

“Moving beyond uniformity”

Hundertwasser HausWalk outside and take a look at nature – God’s good creation. Notice anything? There aren’t a whole lot of straight lines. There’s also a lot of color, color which seems to pop up in unconventional and surprising ways. That’s what Austrian painter-turned-building designer, Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928-2000) noticed, and he decided to incorporate it into his work. On a recent trip to Vienna, I was able to visit one of his architectural creations, the Hundertwasser House.

Hundertwasser Haus -2At first I was taken aback. The structure obviously didn’t fit the neighborhood. Brightly colored with few straight lines, the complex certainly caught your attention! But then I began to truly enjoy the structure’s beauty. Friedensreich Hundertwasser’s vision is a great example of my point in an earlier post, “Living Fully into the Imagination of God” – reflecting the imagination and creativity of God in our own creations.


Photo by Rosmary - http://www.flickr.com/photos/rvoegtli/

Hundertwasser believed that erecting a building meant taking away natural green-space. To counter that, all of his designs (except for this downtown Vienna incinerator stack he turned into a work of art)include a roof-top “forest”, a place of nature available to all the residents in the building. He also believed that each tenant should be free to decorate the outside portion of his flat in a manner that expressed their own creative personality.

Even more radical was his interior design – no straight lines unless structurally essential. Even the floors have a more organic roll to them. As Hundertwasser said, “An uneven floor is a divine melody to the feet.” While this certainly creates challenges for decoration, not to mention leveling furniture, it was Hundertwasser’s way of helping us stay in touch with nature, even while living in the confines of a busy city.

This creativity and harmony with God’s creation is something we are working toward in our own designs for Mustard Seed Village. It means thinking outside the box and challenging our conventional assumptions about structural design and what is actually spiritually and physically healthy for our communities.

Watch this video featuring several photos of Hundertwasser-designed structures with Ken Medema’s song “Color a House” as the perfect background music.

What are your thoughts?
  • Have you seen, or been involved with, designs that break with convention in order to bring you closer to God’s creation?
  • Do you sense a spiritual impact from the design of your home, neighborhood, or city?
  • Are there specific things you are doing to encourage creativity in design and space for your home, church, or organization?