At Last years Architecture Biennale in Venice, The Spanish firm Ensamble Studio was commissioned by Kazuyo Sejima to create an installation that would be housed within, and respond to, the historic shipyards of Venice, The Arsenale.
The result was: Balancing Act. A work that closely follows the script written, followed and explored since Antón García- Abril assembled the Ensamble team in the late 1990's. Famed for their almost brutalist approach, they revel in the reduction of 'dressing' to make hero of their exposed monumental concrete I-Beams and celebrate the structure. Additionally, their exploitation of gravity through confronting our perceptions of balance, weight bearing and placement of elements both excites and challenge us from every angle.
Outside Madrid boldly stands one of their most successful constructions in this style: Hemeroscopium House.
A gargantuan residence that essentially owes it's presence to three huge cement I-Beam's, two sections of concrete storm-water channel and one twenty tonne granite stone seemingly teetering atop the entire assembly. Despite the power of the structure dominating the site visually on first viewing, the internal and external livable spaces it creates are astoundingly effective:
... the way this structure is set, the house becomes aerial, light, transparent, and the space kept inside flows with life.
The project was completed in 2005 after one year of complex engineering but only seven days of construction, thanks entirely to its pre-fabricated elements. Since then Ensamble have forged ahead with their unique styling on projects across Spain and currently under construction is the subterranean Cervantes Theatre in Mexico City, due for completion this year.