On 13 January 2016, Alejandro Aravena of Chile was announced as the 2016 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate. He is the first Chilean architect to win the Pritzker Prize. The 48 years old architect is based in Santiago, Chile, he established his own practice in 1994 with Alejandro Aravena Architects, while since 2001 he has been leading ELEMENTAL.
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 firm 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. Aravena’s partners at ELEMENTAL are Gonzalo Arteaga, Juan Cerda, Victor Oddó, and Diego Torres.
The announcement by the Hyatt foundation, which sponsors the prize mentions that Aravena “practices architecture as an artful endeavor in private commissions and in designs for the public realm and epitomizes the revival of a more socially engaged architect.”
The complete announcement can be accessed here.