Caramel Journey


Welcome: Ulrich Müller

Introduction: Ismael Ivo (Performance)

Nada, niente, rien, tipota, hic, foyi — nothing, baby! Actually nothing should be written here. Architecture is narrative; it speaks for itself, say the architects. At least those who not resorted to hot air, who are justified in their self-confidence, whose work itself is statement enough. Like the guys that the next 419 are all about. Günter Katherl, Martin Haller, Ulrich Aspetsberger — Caramel architects. Ten years ago they founded an office in Vienna, and from the very beginning were involved with what was happening on the scene. With spectacular buildings and competition entries, as well as with unusual performances. They gave the Austrian capital the finest waste disposal centre in Europe, covered the cultural capital Linz with a huge rustic but inviting tablecloth and let a baffled biennale audience in Venice stand out in the rain. Yet despite the playful lightness with which they seem to approach even the most serious tasks, there is nothing playful about the formal language that they use — everything makes sense. And makes a clear statement. After all, it is true that architecture is narrative, and if one listens carefully, it even tells stories. Like the company building on the motorway, which feels so sexy in its black latex dress; or the house on a slope above the city, cantilevered so audaciously that it seems to flaunt the restrictions of statics, and be trying to fly…

(Andreas Russia Bovelino in: Caramel. Forget Architecture, Baby, Springer Verlag, Vienna/New York, 2012.)

Günter Katherl, Martin Haller and Ulrich Aspetsberger founded Caramel in 2001. Since then the Viennese architects have won numerous competitions and constructed a number of projects. In addition to a series of single-family houses, projects include the: MA 48 main workshops in Vienna (2004); Voest visitor bridges 2006; Ansfelden maintenance workshop (2006); school extension KAK+HLF in Krems (2007); WiFi Adult Education Center in Dornbirn (2008); Krautgarten residential complex in Vienna (2011); as well as an information point for linz09 and the large-scale University of Linz Science Park (2009–2012).

In their exhibition Fahrt (“journey”), the protagonists travel on an abstract railroad through a fictional world with two-dimensional Caramel projects. The journey through this artificial landscape is visually documented from the engineer’s perspective and transmitted live via beamer. Because of the enlargement and resulting lack of definition, the two-dimensionality of the landscape and models moves to the background, creating the impression of a real landscape with real houses. With the simplest means such associations are possible, upon which the viewer can explore boundaries between reality and fiction.