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IAAC Closing Lecture – Ensamble Studio

Tuesday, 4th of June, 2024 IAAC Lecture Series – Ensamble Studio

Ensamble Studio is a cross-functional team founded in 2000 and led by architects Antón García-Abril and Débora Mesa. Bridging art and science, their work innovates typologies, technologies and methodologies to build architectures, urban spaces and landscapes. 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, and more sustainable by carefully designing materials, systems and processes. Their work is extensively published in both printed and digital media, exhibited worldwide, and awarded internationally; most recently, with the 2022 American Academy of Arts and Letter Award in Architecture, and the Marcus Prize 2021, as a recognition to their innovative practice and its contribution to the field of architecture. As an extension to their practice, Antón and Débora are committed to sharing ideas and cultivating synergies between professional and academic worlds through teaching, lecturing and researching. They have been invited professors and lecturers at numerous universities and architecture forums; currently she is Design Critic in Architecture at Harvard GSD, and he is a Professor of Architecture at MIT in Cambridge, where they co-founded the POPlab –Prototypes of Prefabrication Laboratory– in 2012.

Antón García-Abril, (Madrid, 1969) is European PhD Architect Licensed Architect and a registered architect in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He established Ensamble Studio in 2000 and co-founded WoHo in 2020. He has dedicated his career to innovating 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. Antón 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, and previously served as Associate Professor of Architecture in the Polytechnic University of Madrid, where he completed his master’s and doctorate studies. He received the Spanish Academy Research Prize in Rome in 1996.

Débora Mesa, (Madrid, 1981) is a European Licensed Architect, principal of Ensamble Studio and co-founder of the start-up WoHo. She joined Ensamble Studio in 2003 and 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. Mesa became partner of the firm in 2010, after her instrumental contributions to the work of the studio and has been key to the international expansion of the firm 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 in Architecture from the Polytechnic University of Madrid (2006), where she also completed a two-year doctorate program on the “Theory and Practice of Architecture” in 2010.


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