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Alejandro Aravena, winner of 2016 Pritzker Prize.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2016 by vincentloy

Pritzker Prize, awarded annually to honour a living architect (or architects in partnership) is regarded as the highest architectural award in the world. The past winners of this prestigious prize include Philip Johnson, I.M.Pei, Richard Meier, Frank Gehry, Robert Venturi, Tadao Ando, Renzo Piano, Norman Foster, Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid, Jean Nouvel, Peter Zumthor, Toyo Ito, etc. The recipient for this year’s Pritzker Prize had just been announced not long ago, and the winner is Alejandro Aravena.

He is the 41st Pritzker Prize laureate and the first Chilean to receive the award. Alejandro Aravena is an architect born in 1967 in Santiago, Chile. After graduated from Universidad Católica de Chile in 1992, he established Alejandro Aravena Architects in 1994. He was a visiting professor at Harvard Graduate School of Design from 2000–2005 and is the Elemental-Copec Professor at his alma mater. He had also written some books on architecture. Other than that, he was a member of the Pritzker Prize Jury from 2009 to 2015, and is an International Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects. In 2006 he became the executive director of ELEMENTAL S.A, a company working on infrastructure, transportation, public space and housing projects. In July 2015 Aravena was named Director of the Architecture Section of the Venice Biennale, with the responsibility for curating the 15th International Architecture Exhibition to be held in Venice in 2016.

Some of the many awards he had received in the past for his creativity, contribution and commitment in architectural field are León de Plata XI Bienal in Venice, Erich Schelling Architecture Medal in 2006,  Global Award for Sustainable Architecture in 2008, Silver Lion at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2008, Index Award winner in 2011, and of course this Pritzker Prize in 2016.

Aravena has a large portfolio of private, public and educational projects in Chile, the USA, Mexico, China and Switzerland. But perhaps more notably, through his firm ELEMENTAL, he has managed to build 2,500 units of social housing, engaging in the public housing policies of governments where he works and taking an opportunistic approach to market forces to generate a powerful impact on lower-income communities.

“Alejandro Aravena epitomizes the revival of a more socially engaged architect, especially in his long-term commitment to tackling the global housing crisis and fighting for a better urban environment for all,” explained the Jury in their citation. “He has a deep understanding of both architecture and civil society, as is reflected in his writing, his activism and his designs. The role of the architect is now being challenged to serve greater social and humanitarian needs, and Alejandro Aravena has clearly, generously and fully responded to this challenge.” He is also praised to have ‘”risen to the demands of practicing architecture as an artful endeavor, as well as meeting today’s social and economic challenges.”

Some of his famous past works include:

Siamese Towers, San Joaquín Campus, Universidad Católica de Chile

Monterrey Housing. Monterrey, Mexico

Alejandro-Aravena-Monterrey-Housing-02

St Edward’s University Dorms. Austin, Texas, USA

Medical School, Universidad Católica de Chile. Santiago, Chile

Novartis Office Building. Shanghai, China

Alejandro-Aravena-Novartis-Campus-Shanghai-Office-Building-01

Congratulation, Alejandro Aravena! Before this, not many would know this name. Now, since he is 2016’s recipient of Pritzker Prize, defeating other hot favourites like Steven Holl, Daniel Libeskind, Santiago Calatrava, etc this year, people in architecture field like us would have his name in our minds from now on. He made a mark in the world’s architecture scene, and so his name is worth a part in our memory especially after he won this prestigious Pritzker Prize for 2016.

(Images and information in this post are from http://www.archdaily.com/780203/alejandro-aravena-wins-2016-pritzker-prize/. You can read more about this wonderful architect and his works in that link to Archdaily website).

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