Creating beautiful, intelligent, and scalable building systems that raise the standards of low-to-high rise construction.
Why is construction, a process both ubiquitous and ancient, still so fragmented and inefficient? Why is there such a gulf between innovation in building materials and the process by which these materials are assembled into functional structures? Why is it that most buildings must start from a blank slate, with each step making the final product more expensive and less impactful? Questions like these drive WoHo, a company founded by Antón García-Abril and Débora Mesa, to change the way we build, design, and develop. The company expects to lower the costs of construction by more than 20%, shrink project delivery time by 50%, and reduce the ecological footprint of buildings by 70%, all while improving project predictability and construction quality.
Although WoHo launched in 2020, Antón García-Abril and Débora Mesa have been reimagining modern development since 2000 when they founded Ensamble Studio, an award-winning global architectural firm based in Madrid and Boston. The seeds of what would become WoHo were planted in 2012 when CEO Antón García-Abril started teaching at the MIT School of Architecture and Planning. Through MIT, García-Abril brought in Débora Mesa to co-found the Prototypes of Prefabrication Laboratory (POPlab) with him that same year. The pair had experimented with offsite construction and prefabricated parts as early as 2007, when they built the Hemeroscopium House in Madrid from precast concrete. But it was at the POPlab that they turned their focus to lightweight materials while continuing research on prefabricated systems.
García-Abril and Mesa’s work is centered around their shared belief that the complexities of modern development are, in many ways, a relic of a process that’s remained unchanged for decades. Reimagining the way buildings are designed and made can actually increase the quality of the finished product, creating welcoming and resilient places to live and work. This philosophy is at the core of WoHo, driving the next generation of intelligent, safe and sustainable spaces.
García-Abril sees WoHo as a new approach to architecture — no longer is the discipline the visionary planning phase of a project, instead it is interwoven through every chapter of a structure’s life. WoHo has developed a system of discrete foundational components which can be scaled and configured to span both residential and commercial buildings like multifamily housing, hotels, labs, offices, and dormitories. Such an approach gives the company control over the design, material selection, and overall quality of each assembly at a finer level than traditional construction; allowing the team to continuously iterate and improve facets of their assemblies without stalling production.
WoHo is planning to build lean, modular factories that balance automation and handwork close to construction hubs, simplifying the logistics, lowering the costs, and reducing the environmental footprint of its buildings. It is also building an ecosystem of partners and preferred suppliers. The team likens its WoHo Production System (WPS) to the automotive industry, with its network of value-add suppliers and assembly lines, with their optimized interplay between human and machine.