Alejandro Aravena, winner of the 2016 Pritzker Prize of Architecture

Chilean Architect was awarded last week for his prolific work on social housing and innovation.

El Mundo
El Mundo

Alejandro Aravena has stood out for his multifaceted urban practices. His work has considered both social housing and other private and institutional projects. It is for his remarkable career that yesterday the Chilean received the prestigious Pritzker Award, the «Nobel» prize of architecture.

The colossal work of Aravena has reached its culminating point with the construction of the UC Innovation Centre (2014), an imposing building which goes in the same line as his previous works at the Catholic University of Chile: Siamese Towers (2005), Medicine School (2004), the Architecture School (2004) and Mathematics School (1999). These energy-efficient structures respond to the local climate with facades and innovative and effective ground floors, giving users a place to encounter with natural light and large spaces.

But it was not because of these works, nor his works around the world, which led him to obtain the prestigious recognition, but the 2,500 built social homes he designed in Quinta Monroy, Iquique. The jury stressed his eagerness to deliver efficient solutions that involve the inhabitants in a decisive way.

«He understand the materials and the construction, but also the importance of poetry and the power of architecture to communicate on many levels», said the jury on their decision. At the same time, Tom Pritzker, President of the Hyatt Foundation, said that Aravena «practices architecture as an ingenious effort for both private commissions and designs of public domain and which embodies the resurgence of a more socially engaged architect».

In this way, Aravena becomes the fourth Latin American architect to win this award, after the Mexican Luis Barragán (1980) and the Brazilians Oscar Niemeyer (1988) and Paulo Mendes da Rocha (2006).