Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena has been named the 2016 winner of the prestigious Pritzker prize, celebrating contemporary solutions to public architectural needs.
Aravena is the 41st architect to be awarded the prize, a first for Chile, thanks to his urban designs in response to the global housing crisis. His portfolio not only includes designs in Chile, China, Mexico, Switzerland and the U.S., but he was also awarded for his involvement in Chilean project Elemental, supporting the construction of some 2,500 social housing properties.
“Alejandro Aravena personifies the rebirth of an architect dedicated to society. He has a profound understanding of architecture and civil society, reflected in his writings, his activism and his designs.” The judging panel stated.
South America is currently home to some six percent of the world’s population, around 400 million people, of which more than 80 percent live in urban zones. This has generated a serious housing deficit across the region.
“So be it the force of self construction, the force of common sense, or the force of nature, all these forces need to be translated into form, and what that form is modeling and shaping is not cement, bricks, or wood. It is life itself. Design’s power of synthesis is just an attempt to put at the innermost core of architecture the force of life.” 48-year-old Aravena commented during the 2015 TED talks.