Founded in 2000 by Antón García-Abril and Débora Mesa, Ensamble Studio represents that rare and highly sought-after ideal of 21st century architecture: a firm whose work is as intellectually rigorous as it is visceral and viral, with work that is equally at home in both the 2010 Venice Biennale and on the popular website Viralnova. In this interview - the first installment in his column for ArchDaily "City of Ideas" - Vladimir Belogolovsky visits the studio's founders at their unconventional home, the Hemeroscopium House in Madrid, to talk about their experimental approach to design and their conception of the city of the future.
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Interview with Ensamble Studio: "The New Generation Will Not Accept Standard Solutions. We Need an Entirely Different City"
Wiel Arets, Dean of the College of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and Dirk Denison, Director of the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP), have announced the inaugural MCHAP shortlist – 36 “Outstanding Projects” selected from the 225 MCHAP nominees.
“The rich diversity of these built works is a testament to the creative energy at work in the Americas today,” said Arets. “When viewed alongside the innovative work by the MCHAP.emerge finalists and winner, Poli House by Mauricio Pezo and Sofia von Ellrichshausen which we honored in May, we see the evolution of a distinctly American conversation about creating livable space.” See all 36 winners after the break.
Spanish firm Ensamble Studio has always captivated me with the high level of experimentation found in their built works. Their construction processes are unique, and their projects elegantly explore the tension between structure, matter and space with impeccable technical execution--as seen at the award-winning Hemeroscopium House’s delicately balanced intersected prefab elements.
From the small Truffle in the Mediterranean coast, to the delicate roof of the Cervantes Theater in Mexico City, their work is always reinterpreting materials. The Cervantes Theater roof, for example, stands elegantly between projects by FR-EE and Chipperfield, marking the location of an underground venue below through a carefully balanced steel structure. From certain angles, though, one sees a laminar structure that lets light pass through.
The firm is based in Madrid, and is directed by architects Antón García-Abril and Débora Mesa, together with Javier Cuesta. Antón is currently full-professor at the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT.
In this interview Antón tells us that architecture is part science, part poetry, and that Ensamble has found success by treating their practice as a laboratory, academy and consultancy company. Read the full transcript after the break.
The Rice Design Alliance Prize, presented annually, has been created by Rice Design Alliance (RDA) to recognize exceptionally gifted architects in the early phase of their professional career. The jury saw avant-garde architecture and a personal language in the work of Antón García-Abril that is at the forefront of the contemporary architectural scene.
RDA – a committee of architects and academics – will meet annually to review the work of national and international architects, young talents that exemplify excellence in design and are within their first 15 years of professional practice.
The inaugural “Rice Design Alliance Prize” was formally delivered to Antón García-Abril, founder of Ensamble Studio (Madrid), on April 15 in Houston. In addition García-Abril gave a lecture to present his latest work.
More images, after the break.