Débora Mesa Molina and Caroline O'Donnell: The Making of Practice

Woman wearing a white jacket gesturing with her hands, with figures reflected in the background.
Débora Mesa Molina (right) and Caroline O'Donnell led a discussion on building a practice. William Staffeld / AAP
Man gesturing with his hands surrounded by people seated on steps.
Students in the audience respond to visiting architect Débora Mesa Molina. William Staffeld / AAP
Woman wearing a white jacket gesturing with her hands.
Visiting architect Débora Mesa Molina leads the discussion during the AAP Connect On the Steps event in the L. P. Kwee Studio. William Staffeld / AAP
Woman with white jacket speaking to men and women seated on steps.
Débora Mesa Molina speaking to students and faculty in the Stepped Auditorium. William Staffeld / AAP

On the Steps Event Series

Finding a job or internship is one thing, building your practice is another.

Learn the difference and hear how it's done as the Edgar A. Tafel Associate Professor and director of the M.Arch. program Caroline O'Donnell speaks with Débora Mesa Molina of Ensamble Studio.

Molina was born in Madrid in 1981 and is a European licensed architect by the Polytechnic University of Madrid. She is a principal of Ensamble Studio, a cross-functional team that she leads with her partner, Antón García-Abril, based in Madrid and Boston. Among the studio's most relevant built projects are Hemeroscopium House and Reader's House in Madrid; Music Studies Center and Sociedad General de Autores y Editores Central Office in Santiago de Compostela, Spain; the Truffle in Costa da Morte, Spain; Teatro Telcel in Mexico City; and more recently, Cyclopean House in Brookline, Massachusetts; and Structures of Landscape for Tippet Rise Art Center in Stillwater County, Montana.

Balancing education, research, and practice, the firm's work reflects a bold approach to the design and construction of architectural and urban spaces, structures, technologies, and programs; and has been internationally awarded, exhibited, and published — the latest recognitions being the 2017 Architizer A+ Awards and the 2016 National Council of Structural Engineers Associations Excellence in Structural Engineering Award for their project Structures of Landscape in the Tippet Rise Art Center, and their participation in the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial and the 2016 Venice Biennale of Architecture.

Besides her professional career, Molina keeps an active research and academic agenda. She has been a visiting professor and critic at numerous universities and architecture forums — most recently she was appointed the Benjamin Menschel Visiting Professor of Architecture at The Cooper Union in 2017, and has been a research scientist at MIT since 2011, where she cofounded the Prototypes of Prefabrication Research Laboratory in 2012.

Part of the AAP Connect Professional Development Series.