Housing Crisis Activist Architect Alejandro Aravena Lands The 2016 Pritzker Prize

The Pritzker Prize aims to recognise and award architects who demonstrate talent, vision and commitment to the development of the built environment. At its heart is the importance of the art of architecture and its impact on the human experience.

Housing Crisis Activist Architect Alejandro Aravena Lands The 2016 Pritzker Prize

This prestigious award identifies the very best of the best in current contemporary architecture. The recipient of the award is named as a Pritzker Prize laureate and also receives a bronze medallion and a cash prize of $100,000.

Architect Alejandro Aravena

This year’s winner is the well-known Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena. At just 48 years old, Aravena has amassed a large portfolio of projects, including private and public buildings and educational facilities in his native land of Chile as well as in Mexico and the USA. He has also worked on projects in Switzerland and China.

The 2016 Prize

Unlike other professional architectural prizes, the Pritzker Prize recognises the current works of the architect rather that a single completed project. In this case, the judges focused on Aravena’s project’s dedication to the improvement of urban environments in Chile. It also identified a theme in his work which addresses the housing crisis on a global scale.

What’s more, Aravena’s work doesn’t sacrifice beauty in the name of practicality. His work is seen as something which addresses today’s social and economic challenges and restrictions while continuing to practise architecture as an artful endeavour.

His firm, ELEMENTAL, has built an incredible 2,500 units of social housing in the last few years. This number has been achieved by his taking on an opportunistic approach to market forces, making the most of the situations and opportunities presented.

Recognising the Relationship Between Beauty and Pragmatism

The recognition of the importance of attractiveness and practicality in architecture by the prize is one which comes as music to the ears of Ragozzino. The projects of this Buckingham chartered architect often focus on the regeneration of existing spaces into beautiful liveable spaces.

This approach of regeneration is both sustainable and practical. With the prizes such as the 2016 Pritzker Prize going to innovative and hard-working architects like Alejandro Aravena, attention on the importance of practical, desirable architecture is increased. After all, who should benefit more from good architecture than the inhabitants of the buildings it produces?