Inside SCI-Arc

    The SCI-Arc Gallery is open daily, 10am-6pm.


01.23.09 - 03.08.09 | SCI-Arc Gallery
Susanne Zottl: A Styrofoam Lover with (E)motions of Concrete

Please download Flash player here.

Photos by Josh White

Friday, January 23
Exhibition discussion followed by public reception

SCI-Arc is pleased to present A Styrofoam Lover with (E)motions of Concrete, a site-specific installation by Vienna-based architect Susanne Zottl. The installation in the SCI-Arc Gallery proposes a new program that at once asks for a transformation of existing spaces and structures, as well as an improvement of the energy efficiency of existing buildings.

Walls in this exhibition bend and undulate: they push into space; space pushes into them. They gain their shapes by using casting, coupled with a flexible textile membrane, as its mode of creation. In the way that Eve Hesse expanded the field of wallwork in the 1970s with "paintings" that curved, stretched and reached out like sculpture, Susanne Zottl's work similarly questions our simple relationship with an established form -- the wall.

Zottl expands the definition of the wall, making the hard-divider into a shapely constituent, not limited to the language of flatness. In addition to testing our relationship to space, Zottl uses this opportunity and these materials as a subtle push towards energy efficiency and sustainability. She uses a unique mixture of concrete and thermal foam, balancing the need for formal innovation against the current necessity for environmental innovation.

Though the installation focuses on the "wall" as one element of the building, other structural elements -– what we refer to as "floor," "ceiling," etc.-– might be treated in a similar way. Working closely with Susanne Zottl, SCI-Arc students assisted in the design, construction and installation of the work.

About Susanne Zottl
After completing her studies in architecture at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria, Susanne Zottl studied at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), where she received her Masters of Architecture in 1993. After becoming a licensed architect in Austria in 1996, she established the architecture office of Susanne Zottl in 1998 in Vienna. She returned to SCI-Arc as a visiting professor in 2002 and taught studios in Vico Morcote/Switzerland, SCI-Arc's European program in 2005 and 2006.

Her office often develops new projects within existing structures as well as in the context of protected monuments. Projects dealing with this subject are the Atelier Augarten, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Vienna, 2001; the Polarium in the Vienna Zoo, the building for penguines and seals, 2004; and the Orangerie in the Belvedere/Vienna, 2007, a remodeling of the building into a hall for temporary exhibitions.

Her work also includes interior design (apartment Foundation Czerwenka/Vienna, 2006; interior Burghauptmannschaft Österreich/Vienna, 2007) and the design of exhibitions (Open House Hofburg Vienna, 2008).
For more information, visit