ArchDaily has interviewed Antón García-Abril and Débora Mesa of Ensamble Studio, an architectural firm that is responsible for some of the most refreshing ideas I've heard in a while.
Here are the parts that spoke to me most (and those are plenty, as you'll see).
To start, here's how they describe their design vision:
We aim at finding a balance between what we need to control and what we do not need to control. [...] We thoroughly design the process (or the system) and allow for different degrees of uncertainty and freedom to significantly affect the result.
Man, that's right up my alley.
Aside their service-oriented practive, Ensamble Studio Architectural produces their own projects. About their work:
The projects we have been working on for some time now follow two different directions: urban systems and nature.
Direction 1: Urban systems
One of those is Plot Tower.
Rather than as a building, Plot Tower can better be described as a vertical stack of 150 plots, for 150 families. From an understanding that developing a generic solution would never perfectly fit the needs of those individual families, Ensamble proposes to provide 150 frames.
Let’s invite other architects and customize 150 different worlds. People should have their freedom. I don’t want to live in a generic house, why should they?
Ensamble embraces the concept of standardization: making unique assemblies out of standard parts. This also allows for continued adaptation, which is positive because:
The ideal house is the unfinished house, when home evolves with the residents.
Direction 2. Nature
The architects say:
We don’t like pastoral representations of nature or domesticated beauty. We understand that nature is brutal and can kill you. We love that kind of beauty - of the brutality of the wilderness.
Our Truffle House [...] is a clear manifesto about our understanding of beauty.<br>
Ensamble built this experimental house by piling up soil, branches, leaves, animal bones - anything what could be found on the site - effectively creating a natural mold. Then they poured reinforced concrete into it.
After the form was consolidated they removed the mold, revealing an object and a space that were largely the result of chance. The architects say:
We did not have a plan for how it would look like [...] We only engineered the process.
Now that's confidence.
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