1. We think with our hands, we experience. We seek to control the processes more accurately than the results. Because finding the logic in the development makes it harder to be wrong.
2. We go to the origin of the processes, to the raw materials, we try to arrive to the essence of the elements and construction systems. And this scientific understanding enables a extreme freedom to operate outside the preconceived processes. We use industry at the service of architecture but not vice versa.
3. We dream spaces and design their construction using an explosive mixture of imagination and reality, aiming to excite places and people, to create strong bonds that will improve the quality of life in and around them.
4. Our work has no pigeonholes, no barriers. We design the shadow to obtain spaces of light and we can build with heavy elements to obtain weightless and transparent spaces. We go from stressed structures to dense structures, from the small scale of the house to the bigger scale of the city, from reordered nature to prefabricated systems.
5. We do not ignore history, we have studied it and we reread it with every project. But we use actual technology and we face the problems of our present times.
6. Structure is the architecture, which is not only entrusted with the important task of dealing with gravity, but also traces the space, frames the landscape, orders the program, expresses; and so, defines architecture. Without dressings or disguise, with constructive economy and honesty.
7. And above all, we do. And if we make mistakes, we learn. But the perseverance in doing keeps us alive. If we do not have work, we invent it.
Ensamble Studio is a cross-functional team founded in 2000 and led by architects Antón García-Abril and Débora Mesa. Balancing imagination and reality, art and science, their work innovates typologies, technologies and methodologies to address issues as diverse as the construction of the landscape or the prefabrication of the house. From their early works –SGAE Headquarters, Hemeroscopium House or The Truffle in Spain– to their most recent –Ensamble Fabrica in Madrid and Ca'n Terra in Menorca, Spain–, every project makes space for experimentation aiming to advance their field. Currently, through their startup WoHo, they are invested in increasing the quality of architecture while making it more affordable by integrating offsite technologies. Their new research and fabrication facility in Madrid, Ensamble Fabrica, has been built to support this endeavor.
Antón and Débora are committed to sharing ideas and cultivating synergies between professional and academic worlds through teaching, lecturing and researching: she is Design Critic in Architecture at Harvard GSD and he is a Professor at MIT, where they co-founded the POPlab –Prototypes of Prefabrication Laboratory– in 2012.
Their contributions to the theory and practice of architecture have received numerous international recognitions, the latest ones being: the 2022 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, the 2021 Marcus Prize, and the 2019 RIBA Charles Jencks Award.
Antón García-Abril is a European Licensed Architect and a registered architect in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He established Ensamble Studio in 2000 and has co-founded WoHo in 2020. He has dedicated his career to innovating typologies, technologies, and methodologies, advancing the fields of architecture and construction through works that are internationally recognized. Together with his partner Debora Mesa, he has progressively redefined the role of the architect, adding to his design competencies those from the developer, the contractor, the fabricator and the inventor. García-Abril is full-professor at the School of Architecture and Planning of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) since 2012, where he co-founded the POPlab that same year. He received the Spanish Academy Research Prize in Rome in 1996 holds a doctorate degree from the Polytechnic University of Madrid.
Débora Mesa is a European Licensed Architect, principal of Ensamble Studio and co-founder of WoHo. She learned the profession by combining design with hands-on experiences in quarries, factories and construction sites, where she arrived to translate innovative ideas into built reality, alongside her partners Antón García-Abril and Javier Cuesta. Mesa has been key to the expansion of the firm in the United States and the implementation of an interdisciplinary approach to architecture. She is Design Critic in Architecture at Harvard GSD and previously served as Critic at Large at Pratt GAUD in 2021/22, Ventulett Chair in Architectural Design at Georgia Tech in 2018/22 and Research Scientist at MIT in 2013/18, where she co-founded the POPlab –Prototypes of Prefabrication– in 2012. Mesa holds a master’s degree from the Polytechnic University of Madrid, where she also completed her doctorate studies.
Javier Cuesta is a building engineer with Ensamble Studio, which he joined at its inception in 2000. He is an essential part of the team participating actively in the design of the construction of every project the office produces. He directs Ensamble Fabrica, the in-house manufacturing workshop that takes care of building prototypes, prefabricating building parts and controlling the on-site construction projects of the firm. His experience as Technical Director, Quantity Surveyor, Construction and Development Manager and Health and Safety Coordinator, contributes with a very pragmatic while creative vision to the work of the office. Javier holds a degree from the School of Building Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Madrid. Javier is partner at WoHo and leads the fabrication and assembly processes of WoHo's R&D projects.
Borja Soriano is an associate architect with Ensamble Studio, which he joined in 2013. He directs projects on site, managing construction and ensuring BIM integration. He works hand in hand with the principals and other team members guaranteeing proper coordination of the information flowing between all parties. He focuses on projects in the United States of America, working across all project stages: from design through construction. Borja is a European Licensed Architect by San Jorge University of Zaragoza and holds a bachelor’s degree of architecture by the University College of Dublin. He is partner at WoHo and leads the BIM and product development strategy of WoHo's R&D projects.