Alejandro Aravena of Chile receives the 2016 Pritzker Architecture Prize

Alejandro aravena of chile receives the 2016 pritzker architecture prize
© Cristobal Palma

Alejandro Aravena of Chile has been selected as the 2016 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate, Tom Pritzker announced today Mr Pritzker is Chairman and President of The Hyatt Foundation, which sponsors the prize The formal award ceremony for what has come to be known internationally as architecture’s highest honor will be at United Nations Headquarters in New York on April 4, 2016.

The 48-year-old Aravena is an architect based in Santiago, Chile He becomes the 41st laureate of the Pritzker Prize, the rst Pritzker Laureate from Chile, and the fourth from Latin America, after Luis Barragán (1980), Oscar Niemeyer (1988), and Paulo Mendes da Rocha (2006).

Mr Pritzker said:

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.

Aravena has completed remarkable buildings at the esteemed Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago, including the UC Innovation Center – Anacleto Angelini (2014), the Siamese Towers (2005), Medical School (2004), School of Architecture (2004), and the Mathematics School (1999) These energy-ef cient buildings respond to the local climate with innovative, ef cient facades and oor plans and offer the users natural light and convivial meeting places Currently under construction in Shanghai, China, is an of ce building for healthcare company Novartis, with of ce spaces designed to accommodate different modes of work — individual, collective, formal and informal In the United States, Aravena has built St Edward’s University Dorms (2008) in Austin, Texas.

Alejandro aravena of chile receives the 2016 pritzker architecture prize
Medical School, 2004, Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile
/ © Roland Halbe

Since 2001, Aravena has been executive director of the Santiago-based ELEMENTAL, a “Do Tank,” as opposed to a think tank, whose partners are Gonzalo Arteaga, Juan Cerda, Victor Oddó, and Diego Torres ELEMENTAL focuses on projects of public interest and social impact, including housing, public space, infrastructure, and transportation ELEMENTAL has designed more than 2,500 units of low-cost social housing A hallmark of the rm is a participatory design process in which the architects work closely with the public and end users 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.

In response to being named the 2016 Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, Mr Aravena emailed:

Looking backwards, we feel deeply thankful No achievement is individual Architecture is a collective discipline So we think, with gratitude, of all the people who contributed to give form to a huge diversity of forces at play Looking into the future we anticipate Freedom! The prestige, the reach, the gravitas of the prize is such that we hope to use its momentum to explore new territories, face new challenges, and walk into new elds of action After such a peak, the path is unwritten So our plan is not to have a plan, face the uncertain, be open to the unexpected Finally, looking at the present, we are just overwhelmed, ecstatic, happy It’s time to celebrate and share our joy with as many people as possible.

2016 Award Ceremony at United Nations Headquarters in New York
Each year the award ceremony is held at a culturally or historically signi cant venue around the world The award ceremony for Alejandro Aravena will be held at United Nations Headquarters in New York on April 4, 2016 The location has particular signi cance as one of its lead designers was 1988 Pritzker Prize Laureate, Oscar Niemeyer This marks the third time the ceremony will be in New York.

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