Architects Débora Mesa and Antón Garcia-Abril divide their time between Madrid and Brookline, Massachusetts working as Ensamble Studio, which they founded in 2000. RECORD asked them five questions about their work in preparation for the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Scroll through the slideshow above to see some of their key projects.

Architectural Record: Tell us about your practice. What differentiates you from other firms?

Ensamble Studio is a cross-functional team that balances education, research, and practice. The office is an active laboratory where the limits between fixed categories and disciplines dilute. Our strength is a bold approach to architecture, that leads to ingenious spaces, structures, programs, and technologies, in search of new horizons. Our vision is a practical and integrated one: we design, engineer and build seamlessly.

How do you get into the creative headspace?

We action design, think with our hands and minds simultaneously; using models, mock-ups, and tests, ideas are developed and the construction process rehearsed until we are fit to perform.

We develop design processes with no preconceptions and explore possibilities beyond standard solutions.

We exploit the freedom that creativity enables while contrasting ideas with reality, understanding –– and often reacting to –– the technical, historical, economical, social, and legal frameworks that our physical world imposes in order to construct cities and landscapes with sensibility.

Who are your design heroes?

Those who live and work with passion, erase indifference from the experience of architecture, and improve quality of life with their design thinking.

What do you hope to contribute to the Chicago Biennial?

Architecture, Architecture, Architecture

Most importantly, when it comes to pizza, deep dish or thin crust?

Thin crust! x 2


The Chicago Architecture Biennial runs from September 19, 2017, to January 7, 2018. Read more of our coverage of the event here.