• Radical Logic: On the Work of Ensamble Studio
    Iker Gil
    James Florio
    Antonio Basanta, Domenica Bona, Cathy Halstead, Peter Halstead, K. Michael Hays, Sharon Johnston, Christian Kerez, Mark Lee, Rafael Moneo, and Nader Tehrani
    MAS Context, 2021
    MAS Context

Ensamble Studio, “Structures of Landscape,” 2019. Tippet Rise Art Center, Montana. Photo: James Florio

Radical Logic is a publication that explores the work of the award-winning architecture office Ensamble Studio led by Antón García-Abril and Débora Mesa. The book documents the first twenty years of the Boston- and Madrid-based office at a key moment in their career. After having designed and built a series of remarkable structures—including the Hemeroscopium House in Madrid, the SGAE Central Office in Santiago de Compostela, The Truffle in Costa da Morte, all in Spain; and Structures of Landscape for Tippet Rise Art Center in Montana, United States—their projects Ca'n Terra House in Menorca and the Ensamble Fabrica in Madrid mark the next phase of the office. Through specially commissioned interviews with the architects, essays, and photographic documentation of their work by photographer James Florio, the book provides unique insight into the ideas that drive the studio, the ambitions behind their key projects, and their ongoing explorations.

Ensamble Studio is a cross-functional team established in 2000 and led by architects Antón García-Abril and Débora Mesa. Balancing education, research, and practice, the office explores innovative approaches to architectural and urban spaces and the technologies that build them. Beside their professional career, both principals keep a very active research and academic agenda as directors of the Prototypes of Prefabrication Research Laboratory (POPlab) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that they founded in 2012. Among many other awards, the studio is the recipient of the 2019 RIBA Charles Jencks Award.

Iker Gil is an architect and director of MAS Studio, an architecture and urban design firm based in Chicago. He is also the editor-in-chief of the nonprofit organization MAS Context, executive director of the SOM Foundation, and editor of the book Shanghai Transforming (Actar, 2008). He has curated several exhibitions, including Poured Architecture: Sergio Prego on Miguel Fisac; Nocturnal Landscapes: Urban Flows of Global Metropolises; and BOLD: Alternative Scenarios for Chicago, part of the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial. Gil is the cocurator of the 2020–21 Exhibit Columbus and was the associate curator of the United States Pavilion at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale. He has received several grants and awards for his work from organizations such as the Graham Foundation, the Chicago Architectural Club, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, and Casa Asia.

James Florio is a photographer focused on the built environment and the life surrounding it. He works slowly whenever possible, often visiting a place or space more than once to gain a greater understanding and deliver a thoughtful interpretation. He is currently working on various long-term projects documenting the unique changes of nature, climate, and time on architecture and landscapes. Working both with digital and film, he prefers to shoot in medium or large format for its depth and deliberation. He travels worldwide for both personal projects and commissions and is based in Evergreen, Colorado. You can see more of his work in various publications and books, including National Geographic Traveler, Divisare, Domus, Aribitare, Architect Magazine, Architectural Record, Modern in Denver, Arquitexto, and others.

The publication includes essays by Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate Rafael Moneo; Swiss-based architect Christian Kerez; Los Angeles-based architects Mark Lee and Sharon Johnston; philanthropists and artists Peter and Cathy Halsted; architectural historian K Michael Hays; Iranian-American designer and Dean of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at The Cooper Union Nader Tehrani; deputy president of the Germán Sánchez Ruipérez Antonio Basanta; photographer James Florio; and architect and curator Domenica Bona.

The mission of MAS Context, a nonprofit organization founded in 2011 and based in Chicago, is to advance the fields of architecture and design through the dissemination and sharing of ideas from different disciplines to address in a critical way specific issues of our built environment. It does so through publications as well as a series of public lectures, exhibitions, and events.