MAKE MINDS, HEARTS AND HANDS, MEET.
WOHO IS CONNECTING THE DOTS, REALIGNING THE EFFORTS AND AGENDAS OF CITIES, DEVELOPERS, CONTRACTORS, DESIGNERS, AND USERS TO TRANSFORM THE WAY WE BUILD OUR WORLD.
We are at the tipping point for change. While the fundamental needs of physical structures remain, we are undergoing a paradigm shift for design and construction. Cities are looking to solve climate, health and housing crises; developers are struggling to make projects feasible; contractors have a hard time managing construction quality, time and cost; designers and other professionals do not find the support to innovate; and users pay the bill and suffer the consequences of these numerous misalignments.
The founding WoHo team brings design, development, and innovation experience together to transform how we build our world.
CEO Israel Ruiz spent over two decades moving ideas from MIT labs to fruition. in the world. He was instrumental in the rezoning of Kendall Square (Cambridge, MA), providing density and mixed-use development to accelerate the process. For two decades, Chief Architecture Officer Debora Mesa and Chairman Antón García-Abril have innovated the design, engineering and construction of buildings through their renowned architectural firm, Ensamble Studio.
Is where the structures we build bring us together – connecting us, inspiring us to dream, and fostering diverse ideas across cultures and geographies.
A space to see life through the lens of architecture.
One where ideas gravitate, put to the test, matter beats, architecture speaks, pools can fly and landscape build. Family is big and present.
Where we find meaning to our lives.
Where I find what makes me who I am.
The place that guards my privacy and piece of mind.
We are collaborating with like-minded industry leaders who share our conviction for a better future of building.
Zak Kiritsy is a real estate developer, who served most recently on the development team at Related Beal (Boston, MA), where he oversaw ground-up mixed-use construction projects and large-scale redevelopments with a specific focus on innovative residential development across an array of income levels, including market-rate, workforce, and affordable housing. Projects at Related included the development of a 500 thousand sq. ft. mixed-use residential/hotel in downtown Boston comprised of 239 units of 100% income-restricted affordable and middle-income housing, and a large-scale redevelopment in downtown Springfield, MA, that included various affordable and workforce programs across 489 units. Additionally, he led the development of new product types and strategies, spearheading the evaluation of innovative construction technologies, new residential models, and emerging markets. Previously, he held a real estate private equity investment role at Equity Resource Investments and an international arbitration consulting role with Navigant Consulting. He received a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Georgetown University.
Zak Kiritsy leads development initiatives at WoHo.
Borja Soriano is a European Licensed Architect and associate architect with Ensamble Studio, which he joined in 2013. Throughout his years at the firm, he has gained intensive experience in team coordination, information and material flows directing projects on site. His active participation in the realization of singular works like Ca’n Terra in Menorca, has advanced his knowledge on passive climate strategies, building systems and their integration in architecture. Currently he manages the fabrication of prototypes and ensures BIM integration across disciplines. Soriano holds a master’s degree from San Jorge University of Zaragoza and a bachelor’s degree by the University College of Dublin.
He is partner at WoHo and leads the BIM and product development strategy of WoHo’s R&D projects.
Antón García-Abril is a registered architect in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and principal of Ensamble Studio, a cross-functional team based in Madrid and Boston that he established in 2000. He has dedicated his career to innovating typologies, technologies and methodologies, advancing the fields of architecture and construction through works that are internationally recognized. Together with his partner Debora Mesa, he has progressively redefined the role of the architect, adding to his design competencies those from the developer, the contractor, the fabricator and the inventor. Through the early integration of offsite technologies in their projects, they have been invested in increasing the potential of architecture to make affordability and quality meet. Works like Hemeroscopium House and Reader’s House in Madrid or Cyclopean House in Brookline, MA, are part of the journey that have driven them to WoHo. García-Abril is full-professor at the School of Architecture and Planning of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) since 2012, where he co-founded the POPlab that same year. He holds a doctorate degree from the Polytechnic University of Madrid.
García-Abril is a co-founder and the architectural lead.
Débora Mesa is a European Licensed Architect and principal of the avant-garde architectural firm Ensamble Studio. She learned the profession by combining design with hands-on experiences in quarries, factories and construction sites, where she arrived to translate innovative ideas into built reality, alongside her partners Antón García-Abril and Javier Cuesta. Their works have been showcased and awarded by some of the most prominent cultural and scientific institutions, from MOMA NY, RIBA or MIT, to the Financial Times, TED and Netflix. Mesa is committed to sharing ideas and cultivating synergies between professional and academic worlds through teaching, lecturing and researching. She is the Ventulett Chair in Architectural Design at Georgia Tech School of Architecture and from 2013 – 2018 served as a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where she co-founded the POPlab in 2012. Mesa holds a master’s degree from the Polytechnic University of Madrid, where she also completed her doctorate studies.
Mesa is a co-founder and leads sustainability, research and product development.
Israel Ruiz is the former Executive Vice President and Treasurer of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). While at MIT he oversaw the capital renewal and construction program of thousands of residential units and over 2 million sq. ft. of labs and offices and was instrumental to the real estate development of Kendall Square. He helped grow the university’s innovation ecosystem and orchestrated the conception and launch of The Engine, MIT’s venture capital spin-off focused on Tough Tech. Previously, he held supply chain management, production and engineering roles at Hewlett-Packard and Nissan Automotive. Ruiz holds a master’s degree from the MIT Sloan School of Management and a six-year degree in industrial and mechanical engineering from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, in his native Barcelona.
Ruiz is a co-founder and leads strategy, business development and partnerships.
Allen M. Marcum is the former Director of Treasury and Planning of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He has held senior finance and engineering roles at CSX Transportation and Polaroid and served for over a decade as an officer in the U.S. Navy nuclear submarine force. As an engineer and production team leader at Polaroid, he was responsible for maintaining and improving the reliability of state-of-the-art high-resolution imaging media production equipment, including using Six-Sigma analysis techniques, as well as running a multidisciplinary production team manufacturing nearly $1 million per shift of complex film negative materials. His roles at CSX included economic evaluation of advanced engineering and fleet monitoring and control projects. At MIT his various areas of focus included the funding of almost $6 billion of past, current and future capital projects, the partial funding of the Kendall Square and Volpe commercial development initiatives, and the renovation of the original home and the future expansion space for The Engine Accelerator as well as additional MIT innovation and entrepreneurship space.
Marcum holds a master’s degree from the MIT Sloan School of Management, completed the Naval Nuclear Power Training Program and holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Virginia Tech.
Marcum leads operations for WoHo.
Javier Cuesta is a building engineer with Ensamble Studio, which he joined at its inception in 2000. He is responsible for overseeing on-site construction and directs Ensamble Fabrica, the in-house manufacturing lab that takes care of building prototypes and prefabricated building parts for the firm’s projects. Throughout two decades of research and practice at Ensamble Studio, he has contributed expertise in key areas that involve constructability, quantity surveying, construction management, health and safety coordination and value engineering, facilitating with his pragmatic and bold vision the realization of innovative works. Cuesta holds a degree from the School of Building Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Madrid.
He is a partner at WoHo and leads the fabrication and assembly processes of WoHo’s R&D projects.
Ruiz Joins MIT
Israel Ruiz joins MIT upon graduating its business school.
Garcia-Abril and Mesa design, develop and build Hemeroscopium House, reimagining
prefabrication using precast concrete parts.
Garcia-Abril and Mesa conceive WoHo as a system to develop social housing projects using precast concrete technology.
Ruiz oversees MIT’s $5.2B 2030 Capital Plan, including the construction or renewal of more than 2,000 residential units.
Garcia-Abril and Mesa continue researching about offsite technologies, shifting to lightweight components.
Garcia-Abril and Mesa join MIT & establish POPLab; meet Ruiz
Israel Ruiz leads the rezoning of 4.5M sq. ft. in Kendall Square to develop a mixed-use innovation and residential district; Garcia-Abril & Mesa join MIT,set up the POPLab (Prototypes of Prefabrication Laboratory) and meet Israel Ruiz.
Garcia-Abril and Mesa design and manufacture Cyclopean House in Madrid and ship and assemble it in Brookline putting to practice their research on lightweight prefabrication, testing a global production supply chain, and setting a new ground for WoHo.
Ruiz helps create and launch The Engine to accelerate the market impact of research in areas of science and technology.
Idea for WoHo
Garcia-Abril and Mesa build Ensamble Fabrica as WoHo Lab, to scale up their research and fabrication capabilities.
WoHo’s first product and system prototype is developed in Ensamble Fabrica.
While the COVID-19 pandemic alters the way the world lives, Ruiz, Garcia-Abril and Mesa combine experience, align visions and make WoHo a reality.
The Engine funds WoHo and the company officially launches from lab to market.
Pronounced: WoHo (/w/ō/ – /h/ō/ )
Definition: World Home
As individuals, we all have a responsibility to our collective World Home.
WoHo’s ambition is to evolve the art of designing and building, with the conviction that our small actions will have a big impact. We are dedicated to Architecture with capital A, increasing quality, resiliency and access while reducing waste and inefficiency. WoHo’s innovative systems are viable, scalable, responsive and available to reimagine how we make our homes, cities, neighborhoods and ultimately, the world.
A better world demands that we reshape how we live.