League Prize Winner Bio

LANZA Atelier

Isabel Martínez Abascal and Alessandro Arienzo

The League Prize, an annual competition that asks young designers to respond to a given theme, has marked an important milestone in many architects’ careers. Winners showcase their work through a lecture series and exhibition.

Isabel Martínez Abascal & Alessandro Arienzo were winners of the 2017 competition.

For LANZA Atelier, exhibitions “become moments of possibility and study.” Founded in 2015 by Isabel Martínez Abascal and Alessandro Arienzo, the Mexico City-based practice insists on calling exhibition design “exhibition architecture,” and approaches its residential and public projects with the same risk-taking approach that they foster with their work in the realm of the gallery and museum.

In Ecatepec, Mexico, the firm designed a series of public kiosks and toilets located along a bike path that connect multiple neighborhoods in a linear public park. The kiosks, built in 2016, are constructed with cinderblock punctured with skylights and apertures intended to create open, permeable public spaces. LANZA Atelier designed several exhibitions, including Passersby Series No.1: Jerry Grotowsky for Museo Jumex in Mexico City. For this exhibition, the architects created a hinged folding screen with fold-out shelves and display niches that allowed for the dynamic installation of the exhibited artist’s work. In 2012, the firm designed an exhibit for curator Guillermo Santamarina at Mexico City’s Archivo Diseño y Architectura, comprised of concrete cylinders of varying heights, which display art objects while referencing the building’s support columns. LANZA Atelier is currently working on Jalapa House, a rural residence that incorporates the surrounding forest with the inclusion of an interior corridor that “adapts to the position of the trees.”

The firm’s public toilet project for Ecatepec was nominated for the 2016 Ibero-American Architecture Award for Architecture & Urbanism Award and the 2016 Mies Crown Hall Award Prize for Emerging Architects. LANZA Atelier also received an Honorable Mention in the Competition for the El Eco Museum Pavilion in 2016.

Isabel Martínez Abascal studied at the Technische Universität in Berlin and at the Vastu Shilpa Foundation in Ahmedabad. She obtained her Master of Architecture degree from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and currently teaches in the Architecture and Urbanism department at Escola da Cidade, in São Paulo. She has participated as faculty at the 24th International Workshop of Cartagena and at the Rio Olympics Workshop of the California College of the Arts in 2012, among other exhibitions and workshops. Since July 2015, she has been executive director of the LIGA, Space for Architecture platform in Mexico City, dedicated to the exhibition, dissemination and discussion of Latin American architecture.

Alessandro Arienzo graduated with honors from the Universidad Iberoamericana with a Master of Architecture degree. In 2012 he designed Archivo Diseño y Arquitectura’s inaugural exhibition “Happiness is a hot (and cold) sponge,” with Rodrigo Escandón. He collaborated with Taller de Arquitectura Rocha + Carrillo, Taller Tornel and Frida Escobedo, with whom he developed the conceptual project for the Mexico Pavilion at the Victoria & Albert Museum for London Design Festival in 2015. He is currently a recipient of the FONCA Young Creators Grant Program, 2017.