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Pritzker Prize 2016: goes to Ar. Alejandro Aravena from Chile!

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on January 19, 2016 at 04:10 PM

Often thought to be the Nobel Prize for architects, here comes the announcement of the winner of the Pritzker Award 2016! The 41st Pritzker laureate is  Architect Alejandro Aravena - the first Chilean and the fourth from Latin America after Luis Barragán (1980), Oscar Niemeyer (1988), and Paulo Mendes da Rocha (2006) to receive the prestigious award. “An inspiration for younger architects and designers, Aravena has an unfathomable understanding of architecture, reflecting his generous ideology in tackling the global housing crisis and combating for a better urban environment for all”, is a comment made by the jury for the Pritzker. We, at The Future Of Design applaud the architect's inspiring work and philosophy!

© Courtesy of Internet Sources.

On 13th January 2016, Tom Pritzker, Chairman and President of the Hyatt Foundation - which sponsors the most coveted prize in Architecture – announced the winner of the 2016 edition, as Chile’s Alejandro Aravena! “The jury has selected an architect who deepens our understanding of what is truly great design. Alejandro Aravena has pioneered a collaborative practice that produces powerful works of architecture and also addresses key challenges of the 21st century. His built work gives economic opportunity to the less privileged, mitigates the effects of natural disasters, reduces energy consumption, and provides welcoming public space. Innovative and inspiring, he shows how architecture at its best can improve people’s lives,” said Pritzker in his announcement speech. The honour will be conferred at a formal award ceremony held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on April 4, 2016. 

Based in Santiago, Chile, Alejandro Aravena is a well-known name in the world of architecture and design. Since 2001, Aravena has been executive director of the Santiago-based ELEMENTAL, a “Do Tank” design studio focusing on projects of public interest and social impact, including housing, public space, infrastructure, and transportation. With Aravena, ELEMENTAL has built more than 2,500 units of low-cost social housing - in a unique participatory design process, engaging the locals and authorities. In 22 years of practice, he has worked on various sectors sited in Chile, the USA, Mexico, China and Switzerland.

ELEMENTAL is also known for designing social housing that they call “half of a good house,” in which the design leaves space for the residents to complete their houses themselves and thus raise themselves up to a middle-class standard of living. This innovative approach, called “incremental housing,” allows for social housing to be built on more expensive land closer to economic opportunity and gives residents a sense of accomplishment and personal investment. 

Aravena is internationally acclaimed for his Quinto Monroy development in Iquique, Chile 2004 - the concept behind the scheme was to construct the essential framework and surroundings for the dwellings initially, and leave the rest to the occupants to build over time, as per individual needs and financial capacity.

His clarity of vision towards material and construction has seen him build several powerful structures; some of them being the monumental UC Innovation Center (winner in the London Design Museum’s 2015 Designs of the Year awards); Constitucion - a town redeveloped after the 2010 Chilean earthquake and tsunami; the Mathematics School  (1998), Medical school (2001), the renovation of the School of Architecture(2004), Siamese towers(2005) and many more! His sensitive approach to architectural design is perceptible in his works such as the corporate office building for pharmaceutical company Novartis with office spaces designed to accommodate different modes of work — individual, collective, formal and informal; currently under construction in Shanghai! 

Being a member of the Pritzker jury till 2015, Aravena is the curator of the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, addressing the social and political issues that architects are negotiating around the world - one of the most important events in the architectural almanac to watch out for!

Aravena gives a new dimension to the present demands and offers ideas for meeting the future challenges of the field. With his people-centric design approach, the noble architect can be called the “building occupant’s designer” - a title not many architects can lay claim to!

Designer : Alejandro Aravena
Photography :Internet Sources.

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