Ensamble Studio presents two proposals for opposing contexts: the first is the vertical multiplication of urban land to defeat the meanness of the real estate market. If the city is a magnet that keeps on attracting people and urban land is scarce, Ensamble is trying to change the game in an attempt to avoid the market using such scarcity for their own benefit. Their idea is to create a structural frame capable of supporting several times a given lot or even public space, develop a vertical public circulation system, and then allow the forces that operate in the city to have more area available to host people.
At the other end of the spectrum, we tend to associate landscape with quality of life; the city is a “necessary evil” but, if they had a choice, most people would choose nature as a place to spend quality time. However, as soon as we want to create the conditions to domesticate and use it, there is the danger of ruining its power and purity. The proposal is about “growing” architecture, that is to say, giving form to structures with nature itself. Digging the ground and using the soil as the formwork, an operation where one has to be open to giving up control and allowing nature to follow its own logic, is a way in which forms and finishes are closer to landscape than to architecture, with the potential of being a sign of human habitation instead of exploitation.